FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2014
Acting Secretary Gibson Holds First Meeting with VSOs, Follows Through on Top IG Recommendation
VA Contacts All Phoenix Veterans Identified in Interim Report, Will Announce Additional Actions This Thursday in Phoenix
WASHINGTON – At his first meeting with the leadership of Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) as Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Sloan Gibson today announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has reached out to all Phoenix Veterans identified in the recent VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) interim report.
During a breakfast discussion with the American Legion, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Vietnam Veterans of America, Acting Secretary Gibson outlined immediate steps taken to respond to the interim report, including announcing travel this Thursday to the Phoenix VA Health Care System.
“No Veteran should have to wait for the quality health care they have earned and deserve. The Inspector General confirmed we have real issues when it comes to patient scheduling and access, and we have moved immediately to address those issues in Phoenix,” said Acting Secretary Gibson. “The Department has now reached out to every Veteran identified by the OIG to discuss individual medical needs and immediately begin scheduling appointments. Getting this right is our top priority, and taking care of the Veterans in Phoenix is a good place to start. The Department will also continue reaching out to Veterans nationwide to accelerate their access to care, and that is the message I intend to deliver in Phoenix, and across the country.”
Last week, OIG released an interim report on patient scheduling and access identifying approximately 1,700 Veterans in Phoenix, Ariz., awaiting health care who were not currently in the scheduling system. After accounting for duplicates and those Veterans who declined to provide contact information, VA called all 1,586 individual Veterans identified by the OIG as of 6:00 pm on Friday, May 30. For those Veterans that VA could not reach after several attempts or who had not provided phone details, VA sent letters via US Mail. VA identified that roughly 725 Veterans of the 1,700 identified by the OIG wanted care within 30 days.
VA will schedule all Veterans requesting care at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. If the Phoenix VA Health Care System is not able to promptly provide care using VA providers, VA will identify providers in the community through the VA’s non-VA care program.
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