DANVILLE -- The Danville VA Hospital is getting another visit after it was audited in May. This time, it's for more training and education which could help new patients get in for care sooner. VA hospitals around the country are being audited for making vets wait for medical visits. Danville's VA is one of them and now they know why. WCIA-3's Lindsey Gordon finds out what's next for the hospital.
When it was first audited, review teams looked at all aspects of veterans' access to care. One thing raised a red flag at the Danville VA.
"Approximately 40% of the schedulers that they interviewed, between Danville and Peoria, the staff there, they were not familiar with an electronic wait list."
When the hospital is backed up, patients go on the list. Doug Shouse says, using the list could help more accurately track wait times. It could also speed up how soon people are seen.
"A veteran calls on a Monday morning at ten and he has a two o'clock appointment and he says, 'Hey, I can't make it in.' Well, our staff can go to that electronic wait list and what they can do is they can look and they can call a veteran and say, 'Hey, we have an opening now. Could you come in at two o'clock?'"
He says the staff isn't familiar with the system because they don't have new patients coming in who have to wait 90 days.
"If we did, then we could cause a problem in that our staff would not know the proper way of how to use that electronic wait list."
Shouse says 94% of new patients are seen within 30 days. That's the gold standard. It's better than the 90% national average.
"But, we still need to improve. We have six percent of our veterans out there that ware waiting more than 30 days and we're still working on that."
The Danville VA is one of 112 care centers around the country flagged for further review.
ILLINOIS -- Members of Congress are inspecting veterans' hospitals in the state. U.S. Representative John Shimkus (R) was in Danville Friday for a visit. He met with administrators then toured the facility.
VA hospitals are under increased scrutiny after an internal review showed several dozen patients waited more than three months for appointments at two facilities.
Shimkus reiterated his open-door policy. He's asking VA employees or veterans in his district to contact his office to report any irregularities in scheduling procedures they've witnessed.
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