Three Wisconsin VA Hospitals flagged by federal audit

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by Chris Patterson

MILWAUKEE -- More than 57,000 veterans have been waiting up to three months for medical appointments. Another 64,000 who enrolled for health care over the past decade have never been seen by a doctor. 

A federal audit flagged 122 facilities including three in Wisconsin for further review. The Zablocki VA Medical Center was not one of those facilities.

Auditors found the average wait for a new patient at the Madison VA was nearly 51 days. Nearly three times longer than the VA's two week target for wait times. That Madison hospital along with clinics in Janesville and Kenosha were flagged for further review and investigation. Documents released to the public do not say why.

Hospitals with the highest percentage of patients forced to wait more than a month for appointments are those in Phoenix, Fayetteville, NC, Fresno, Reno, Boise, Columbia, SC. In Milwaukee 4% of veterans had to wait more than 30 days, which is the national average.

Of that 4% or 2,500 patients 1,600 waited up to two months, 740 up to three months, the wait was 91 to 129 days for 184 VA patients and 32 veterans waited more than four months.

In comparison to the 51 days it took to see a primary care doctor in Madison, veterans in Milwaukee had to wait only 24 days.

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