VA reports increase in number of appointments at VA of the Ozarks HCS facilities in August 2019

The VA of the Ozarks Health Care System scheduled 70,205 pending appointments across its eight locations in August 2019 compared to 62,640 the same month last year, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments in August 2019, 68,236 had a wait time of 30 days or less (97.2%) and 1,969 appointments (2.8%) were scheduled more than 30 days out.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January 2019 reported that wait times for new appointments at VA health care facilities were similar to or better than wait times at private-sector providers between 2014 and 2017.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), however, released a report in July 2019 that cautioned that the VA’s data-tracking system only captures part of the appointment process and fails to account for the time that it takes the VA to enroll veterans in its health benefits program.

At a hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee after the report was released, Debra Draper, health care director at the GAO, said new patients may actually wait up to 70 days for an appointment when they first enroll for benefits.

The VA explains on its website that when veterans apply for benefits, they are assigned to one of eight priority groups, with those who need immediate care due to service-related disabilities placed in higher priority groups. Veterans who don’t have service-connected disabilities and who earn a higher income are placed in the lower priority groups.

VA of the Ozarks HCS Appointments Scheduled in August 2019 vs. August 2018
Location
Total Appointments Scheduled in August 2019
Total Appointments Scheduled in August 2018
Percent change in number of appointments
Fayetteville
27,233
27,434
-0.7%
Springfield
21,845
19,307
13.1%
Harrison
1,107
99
1018.2%
Fort Smith
6,214
5,856
6.1%
Branson
7,429
7,216
3%
Ozark
1,007
761
32.3%
Jay
1,149
1,386
-17.1%
Sunbridge
657
562
16.9%
Source: U.S. Veteran’s Administration

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Organizations in this Story

City of Branson City of Jay City of Springfield Fayetteville Fort Smith Harrison Ozark

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