Long waiting times for healthcare are unfortunately commonplace in the United States nowadays and it seems that Utah veterans are often confronted with such situations. A recent formal statement, made by a representative of the Utah Veterans Affairs Medical Center, confirms the fact that newly registered patients with the institution frequently have to wait for months before they get access to medical care. The same official also added that the authorities are doing the best they can to reduce the waiting time.
Shella Stovall, the Associate Director of the Utah Veterans Affairs Medical Center, appeared before a panel on military affairs on Thursday, at the Capitol in Salt Lake City. She addressed the issue of lags in benefiting from medical care that the state’s veterans have to deal with. She also explained that the situation is caused by the old, outdated computer infrastructure of the medical system in Utah. Stovall said that the authorities have already taken several measures to resolve current problems. For one thing, they are looking to hire more medical workers. For another, they are also adding clinic hours to all the staff, in order to process requests for care and new patients with more speed.
The problem at hand is serious, since a recent report on an Arizona Veterans Affairs center has revealed cover-ups conducted within the system. Stovall explained that no cover-ups were undertaken in Utah, but this doesn’t make things much better. A recent report, issued earlier in June, indicated that the VA medical facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, has got the ninth longest waiting time in the United States. According to the report mentioned above, new patients have to wait for as long as 73 days before they receive medical attention.
The media’s focus on issues within the medical system for veterans comes in the wake of a report issued in April, which revealed cover-ups at a VA hospital in Arizona. The same report indicated that some patients actually die before receiving medical attention, while on the waiting list for appointments with doctors. The report includes the results of a countrywide audit of the VA medical system, carried out at 731 hospitals and major outpatient clinics for veterans. It revealed that new patients have to wait for very long times, both for seeing primary care doctors, as well as for specialists. The waiting time for new patients at the VA hospital in Salt Lake City currently far exceeds the 14-day goal set by the state’s VA department.