13,500 Michigan Veterans’ Healthcare Appointments Delayed during VA System Overhaul

13,500 Michigan Veterans’ Healthcare Appointments Delayed during VA System Overh

New federal data has shown that, in the last six months, over 13,500 Michigan veterans had got their healthcare appointments delayed by at least 31 days at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics. It has violated the agency's goal for timely treatment.

A MLive review has found that the 2% waiting rate of 674,821 appointments at the 27 centers in Michigan was better as compared to the government system's worst offenders, where former service members can be delayed up to 20% of the time.

But the lag time at any level has remained a touchpoint nationally as the department has been seeking to repair a system that regularly lets veterans twist in the wind while looking for necessary medical attention.

Last August, President Barack Obama signed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, that provided $16.3 billion for hiring doctors, opening more clinics and for building a program that allows vets facing long delays or long drives to get care from private-sector doctors.

While putting it bluntly on how the VA should handle care, Gary Easterling, director of veterans' services for the American Legion in Michigan, said, "If a veteran needs to get in there within 30 days, then they need to get him in there".

Easterling added that he's largely pleased with the services provided by VA hospitals and clinics in Michigan. He said that almost all of them outperform the national average discovered in an Associated Press study of 940 facilities.

The AP found that 2.8% of all the appointments faced a delay of at least 31 days and 2% extended to 60 days. There were only half-percent appointments that got lingered more than 90 days. 14 VA clinics and hospitals were found where 10% or more of the appointments saw a delay by at least 31 days.