Local News

VA hospital's director: New stats don't reflect progress

Posted January 8, 2015 7:03 p.m. EST
Updated January 9, 2015 11:34 a.m. EST

— The director of the Fayetteville VA Medical Center is responding to a Department of Veterans Affairs report released this week that shows local veterans have the second-longest wait in the country to see a primary care physician.

Patients can wait up to 30 days to receive care at the hospital, the study showed. Nationwide, veterans wait an average of about seven days to see a doctor.

Hospital director Elizabeth Goolsby said Thursday that the numbers do not reflect the increased medical care veterans are now getting at the hospital.

"The number that you're seeing is face-to-face care time," Goolsby said Thursday. "But we're providing care in many other modalities that are not included in that number."

Goolsby says the hospital uses secure messaging and "tele-health" alternatives in addition to traditional face-to-face meetings with doctors.

She hopes the wait times come down now that a temporary clinic opened on Breezewood Avenue in November to provide primary and mental health care services for local veterans.

A permanent 250,000-square-foot VA Healthcare Clinic is expected to open on Raeford Road in October.