Hagan to visit Fayetteville VA on Monday
Posted June 22, 2014
Fayetteville, N.C. — U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, D-NC, will visit the Fayetteville VA Medical Center on Monday to receive an update from senior hospital officials and staff on efforts to reduce excessive wait times for veterans.
Her visit comes nearly two weeks after Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson visited the hospital - at Hagan’s request - and a week after veterans voiced frustrations regarding their experiences to the hospital director.
“It’s clear that the VA has a long road ahead to restore the faith and confidence of our veterans, and I look forward to receiving an update on how the Fayetteville VAMC can better serve our veterans and ensure they’re receiving the care they have earned,” Hagan said in a statement.
A national audit of VA hospitals found that patients at the Fayetteville center wait an average of 29 days for a primary care appointment. New patients wait 83 days, the third-longest wait time in the country and nearly six times longer than the VA's goal of new patients being seen within 14 days.
The audit was ordered after reports in April that veterans were dying while waiting for care in Phoenix. A preliminary federal review found that long patient waits and falsified records were common throughout VA hospitals nationwide.
Gibson, while visiting the Fayetteville facility on June 12, pledged $7.4 million in federal money to address long wait times at the Fayetteville VA and ordered the hospital to hire temporary staff to deal with the backlog.
The extra money comes as veterans, while voicing their discontent to hospital director Elizabeth Goolsby during a recent town hall meeting, said they are unable to access certain medications and have to fight through red tape to get care, among other complaints.