VA Schedulers Failed To Fully Use Wait List Software Created in 2002

Bob Brewin | | June 10, 2014

More than 70 percent of 3,772 patient-scheduling staffers at 731 medical facilities in the Veterans Health Administration did not fully use scheduling software originally developed in 2002, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs report highlighting lengthy wait times for veterans seeking health care appointments.

Released yesterday, the audit of veteran access to VA health care detailed that 13 percent of VA patient schedulers interviewed indicated they received instruction (from supervisors or others) to enter a date different than what the veteran had requested in the appointment scheduling system. Eight percent of scheduling staff said they used alternatives to the official Electronic Wait List, known as the EWL. In some cases, schedulers were pressured to use unofficial lists or to engage in inappropriate practices in order to make wait times appear more favorable.

The audit report said there was at least one instance per facility in the examined 731 subjects in which staffers said they used alternatives to the EWL. As a result, “nationwide, there are roughly 57,436 veterans who are waiting to be scheduled for care and another 63,869 who over the past 10 years have enrolled in our health care system and have not been seen for an appointment,” according to the audit report...