VA whittles down waiting list in New Mexico

The Associated PressJuly 8, 2014 

— The Department of Veterans Affairs has made progress in whittling down the number of new patients in New Mexico who are on the troubled health care system's electronic waiting list.

The latest audit shows there were 482 veterans on the waiting list. That's down from more than 1,040 a month ago.

The list includes new patients for whom appointments cannot be scheduled within 90 days.

Sonja Brown, a spokeswoman for the VA in New Mexico, said officials are attributing the shrinking waiting list to a combination of open clinics being held Saturdays at the main hospital in Albuquerque and at the clinic in Rio Rancho, along with efforts by the health care system to call veterans seeking care.

Brown said Tuesday that officials are evaluating whether to hold additional open clinics on Saturdays.

Reports of patient deaths and treatment delays at VA hospitals and clinics around the country have led to a national outcry. Overall, audit results show tens of thousands of veterans are still waiting as long as three months for medical appointments.

Officials with the VA center in Albuquerque have acknowledged that the system in New Mexico has problems with waiting times.

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