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Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • Louisiana: VA scandal facts and figures

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  • As the nationwide VA healthcare scandals continue to unfold, more state numbers are starting to be released as part of a nation-wide Access Audit ordered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
    At the VA facility in Shreveport, of 44,001 total appointments scheduled during the reporting period,
    43,372 — or 99 percent — were scheduled in 30 days or under and 42,413 appointments were scheduled for in-between zero and 14 days.
    For those without an appointment scheduled in under 30 days, 268 were scheduled in between 31 and 60 days while 159 took between 61 and 90 days, 95 took between 91 and 120 days and 107 took beyond 120 days.
    The other two VA facilities in Louisiana, at Alexandria and New Orleans, did not match Shreveport's efficiency level. New Orleans schedules 98 percent of appointments in less than 30 days while Alexandria only schedules 92 percent in the same time frame.
    In a release Monday, U.S. Senator David Vitter stated the VA needs to step up and take charge and stop the widespread crisis. He also discussed ways he hopes veterans' healthcare can be improved in Louisiana in the future.
    "I'm fighting tooth and nail to get two VA clinics built in Louisiana, and others across the country" Vitter said in the release. "Some veterans have to travel long distances just to receive basic care. These clinics will not only help provide quality care for veterans in closer proximity to them — I believe they'll help alleviate some of the horrible wait times."
    Senator Vitter's office also reached out to local healthcare institutions to determine how the VA's problems have affected them.
    At the May 29 meeting of the Morehouse Parish Hospital Service District No. 1 Board of Commissioners, Secretary Stephen Pitts stated that David Vitter's office had asked about any problems with care being rendered by the VA or an issue with payments.
    "We have experienced a delay in payments," Pitts said.
    As of the May 29 meeting, $121,000 was owed, and Vitter's office said a letter will be sent on behalf of the hospital.

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