Local vets complain about wait times at Richmond VA hospital - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Local vets complain about wait times at Richmond VA hospital

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Local veterans say they're outraged after a new report listed Richmond's McGuire Veteran's hospital as one that has been flagged in the growing VA scandal.

Numbers just released by the Department of Veterans Affairs indicate, some veterans must wait months to get a first visit with some doctors at McGuire VA.

In addition to long wait times, McGuire Hospital is one of about 80 hospitals across the country that the Inspector General says, needs further investigation.

And for some vets, this report just scratches the surface.

Gordon Bengtson is a Vietnam vet and retired pilot. He says, over the years, wait times at McGuire have gotten longer.

"That's part of the hospital hierarchy that's doing that," he said. "That leaves me clawing with everybody else."

Shortly after the VA Scandal erupted in Arizona, the Department of Veteran Affairs ordered audits of all 218 VA hospitals across the country.

Richmond fared as one of the worst for new patients, who must wait an average of 72 days to see a primary care doctor. New patients were supposed to be seen within 14 days though that goal has since been abandoned.

In a statement, a McGuire spokeswoman says,

"The wait time for new patients requesting primary care has been and continues to be a focus of our staff. We continue to address this through adding new staff members, additional clinic appointments, and rural health outreach initiatives."

Though not all McGuire's patients agree with the report.

Steven McAlphin called NBC12 when he heard the news saying he was stunned.

"I can get an appointment within two weeks easily," said McAlphin. "I'm surprised there are veterans who are waiting 72 days for an appointment."

According to McGuire, the findings in the report were inconclusive and so the Inspector General's office will determine how and when the follow up will be completed

 Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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