Military vets using the Department of Veterans Affairs community care program to avoid long waits at VA medical centers might still face months-long delays before seeing a doctor, Military Times reported.
The Government Accountability Office, Congress' auditing arm, found veterans often had to wait between 51 and 64 days for appointments with private doctors under the Veterans Choice program. It cited a lengthy scheduling process that took as long as 70 days.
The GAO report, released Monday, also said recently pass reforms for the Choice Program will not fix the problem without improvements in data collection and monitoring.
"Ignoring these lessons learned and the challenges that have arisen under the Choice Program as [VA officials] design the future consolidated program would only increase VA's risk for not being able to ensure that all veterans will receive timely access to care in the community," the GAO report stated.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign into law a $52 billion veterans policy measure Wednesday — called the VA Mission Act — which includes a consolidation and overhaul of separate and sometimes competing outside care programs. It will be another year before a new single program is operational, Military Times reported.
The replacement system will mean an end to the VA Choice program approved by Congress in 2014 that aimed to get vets under a doctor’s care quicker.
VA officials say there have been improvements in program delays over the past year, but fixing the system will require a complete overhaul of the community care offerings, Military Times reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.