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Cincinnati VA has cut wait times in half, off watch list

Ann Thompson

The Cincinnati VA Hospital and its clinics are apparently in the clear when it comes to problematic wait times.

Director of Public Affairs Denise Kerr says, "The Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs notified our facility that we appropriately addressed flagged issues and were removed from the list of facilities that had issues related to the audit."

At one point last summer the Cincinnati VA had wait times of 45 days. That has now been reduced to 24 days for new primary care patients. In addition, there are new policies in place.

  • Peer scheduling audit team
  • Scheduling hotline
  • Embedded experts to assess processes and recommend improvements
  • Mandated training for scheduling

To get further feedback, Kerr says the third town hall meeting is scheduled for March 25 from 6-8 p.m. at the Cincinnati VA.

Other national changes

Beginning March 24 veterans will be required to use new standardized forms to help further reduce wait times. VA Secretary Robert McDonald told NBC's "Meet the Press" February 15, 2015, "Nine hundred people have been fired since I became secretary. We've got 60 people that we fired who have manipulated wait times."

Some take issue with those numbers.

VA spokesman James Hutton told The Fact Checker, "Regarding the 60 figure, it is most accurate to say that 'VA has proposed disciplinary action related to data manipulation or patient care against more than 60 employees nationwide.' This takes into account the full range of accountability actions including admonishments, demotions, reprimands, and termination."

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.