VA reports decrease in number of appointments at VA NY Harbor HCS in August


VA NY Harbor Health Care System scheduled 51,549 pending appointments across its 5 locations in August compared to 52,992 the previous month, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments, 48,417 had a wait time of 30 days or less (93.9%) and 3,132 appointments (6.1%) 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 or better to 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 do not have service-connected disabilities and who earn a higher income are placed in the lower priority groups.

VA NY Harbor HCS Scheduled in August vs. July
Location
Total Appointments Scheduled in August
Total Appointments Scheduled in July
Percent change in number of appointments
Manhattan, NY
19,607
19,621
-0.1%
Brooklyn, NY
28,544
30,163
-5.4%
St. Albans, NY
2,183
2,020
8.1%
Harlem, NY
314
304
3.3%
Staten Island, NY
901
884
1.9%
Source: U.S. Veteran's Administration

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