Update: Vets React to Nebraska VA Audits


LINCOLN, Neb.-- An audit of Veterans Affairs facilities has found nearly 1,000 veterans who requested an initial appointment in Iowa or Nebraska over the last decade, but have not yet been seen.

As Veteran and American Legion Post 3 Member Timothy Anson said delayed wait times for veterans who need care isn't new.

"It averages about 6 months," said Anson. "I called in January for an eye appointment to have my eyes checked. June 30 is when I actually get the chance to go see the eye doctor."

But over at the Veterans of Foreign Wars State Headquarters in Lincoln, they say health care through the VA couldn't be better.

"As far as wait times currently, I've never been on a long wait list," said VFW Member, Bernie Brosnihan. "I feel like the times that they set up for me are adequate."

And fellow VFW Member Sam Pierce agreed.

"I've been in the VA system for 24 years, and in Omaha I've had super care. I've had big surgeries there, and never waited for appointments.

The report released Monday says 987 enrolled veterans sought appointments at one of three facilities -- two in Iowa, and one in Nebraska that serves western Iowa.

The VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System had 606 appointment requests during the last decade that have not been scheduled. The VA Central Iowa Health Care System had 274 requests, and the Iowa City VA Health Care System had 107.

Dr. Christie Emler, Associate Chief of Medicine for the Lincoln VA, said those numbers have changed.

"Four hundred of them really should not have been on that list," said Dr. Emler. "They have already been taken off so we're now under 200."

As the VA continues to investigate why those 200 vets remain on a waiting list, some vets across the state said recent developments can't be ignored.

The report shows 317 new patients who were placed on waiting lists for initial appointments. New patients are placed on waiting lists when an appointment can't be scheduled within 90 days.


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