The Department of Veterans Affairs reported today that there are 57,000 veterans who requested an initial appointment at a VA clinic who are still waiting to see a doctor after a wait of 90 or more, days, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Facilities in Harlingen, El Paso, Dallas and Amarillo had wait time for new patients that were among the longest, with the Harlingen facility averaging a 145 day wait for new patients seeking specialist care, the longest wait in the nation.
Hector Villarreal, who heads the San Antonio Coalition for Veterans, told 1200 WOAI news that when you see numbers like this, it is no surprise that VA hospitals were cooking the books.
"Those numbers sound horrible," he said. "We need to make some immediate changes," he said.
The audit also flagged VA facilities in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Corpus Christi and McAllen for missing goals for seeing patients quickly.
The audit also said one in ten VA schedulers said they were ordered to falsify appointment dates.
Villarreal says more doctors need to be hired, and more steps need to be taken to make sure there are clinics and physicians available for veterans.
The report prompted Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tx) to renew his call for a criminal investigation, saying bureaucrats who put their own bonuses over veterans care are responsible for the backlog.