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    Veterans Face Extended Delays for Referrals for Specialty Care Outside VA Facilities, Watchdog Finds

    Veterans Face Extended Delays for Referrals for Specialty Care Outside VA Facilities, Watchdog Finds

    Less than half of veterans are receiving Department of Veterans Affairs referrals for specialty care from outside doctors on time, a report published Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office found.

    Those specialist visits can be crucial because veterans often have complicated or chronic illnesses and, while the VA system excels at treating service-connected conditions such as prosthetics and musculoskeletal injuries, it may lack certain specialists or capacity in the immediate area near a veteran. The referral program to community care is designed to ensure that veterans get the care they need when they need it.

    Current scheduling standards are three business days within the VA for a specialty referral and seven days for scheduling an appointment with a community care provider, a doctor outside of a VA facility.

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    The found that in the third quarter of 2022, more than 90% of all VA medical centers scheduled at least half their appointments within three business days. But fewer than 40% of the facilities scheduled appointments within the 7-day time frame set for community care.

    In some locations, veterans waited an average of 12 days to have their specialty care appointment scheduled in house and nearly 34 days in the community.

    The data is important, GAO officials said, because the…

    Continue Reading This Article At Military.com

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