VA reports increase in number of appointments at W. G. Hefner VA MC health facility in Salisbury in August


The W. G. Hefner VA Medical Center, subsidiary 659 in Salisbury, North Carolina scheduled 60,238 pending appointments in August compared to 59,301 the previous month, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments, 55,622 had a wait time of 30 days or less (92.3%) and 4,616 appointments (7.7%) were scheduled more than 30 days out.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January 2019 reported that wait times for new appointments at VA health care facilities were similar to or better than wait times at private-sector providers between 2014 and 2017.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), however, released a report in July 2019 that cautioned that the VA's data-tracking system only captures part of the appointment process and fails to account for the time that it takes the VA to enroll veterans in its health benefits program.

At a hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee after the report was released, Debra Draper, health care director at the GAO, said new patients may actually wait up to 70 days for an appointment when they first enroll for benefits.

The VA explains on its website that when veterans apply for benefits, they are assigned to one of eight priority groups, with those who need immediate care due to service-related disabilities placed in higher priority groups. Veterans who don’t have service-connected disabilities and who earn a higher income are placed in the lower priority groups.

W. G. Hefner VA Medical Center Appointments Scheduled in August vs. July

Facility Code
Location
Total Appointments Scheduled in August
Total Appointments Scheduled in July
Percent change in number of appointments
659
Salisbury, NC (W.G. (Bill) Hefner Salisbury)
60,238
59,301
1.6%
659BY
Kernersville, NC
65,210
64,714
0.8%
659BZ
South Charlotte, NC
61,598
61,833
-0.4%
659GA
North Charlotte, NC
8,680
8,323
4.3%

Source: U.S. Veteran's Administration

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