Report says average wait time at NH VA facilities is more than three weeks
“A 14-day wait-time performance target for new appointments was not only inconsistently deployed throughout the health care system, but was not attainable given growing demand for services and lack of planning for resource requirements,” according to audit findings.
• The Manchester VA had the aforementioned average wait of nearly 23 days for a first-time mental health appointment, while waits extended out to an average of 39 days for a specialty clinic, or 20 days for a primary care appointment.
She said the average wait times for mental health appointments don’t take into account a program, developed in White River, that embeds mental health providers in the VA walk-in, primary-care clinic. So a veteran going through a mental health crisis can get access immediately, she said.
The Manchester VA provided no comment on the data.
The VA said it is taking several steps to address the data. Veterans waiting longer than 30 days for an appointment will be given the option to continue waiting, reschedule if possible, or see a non-VA provider.
The state’s two U.S. senators issued statements about the report.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, credited the VA for canceling bonuses, which she called for, but she said more must be done, including regular audits.
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