VA San Diego Healthcare Director Says New Clinic, Hires Will Decrease Wait Times
Wait times for new VA patients in California
Veterans Affairs medical centers have come under criticism for long wait times for care. These are the VA hospitals in California with the longest average wait times as of May 15 for new patients seeking primary care, specialty care and mental health care, according to audit results released Monday.
NEW PATIENT PRIMARY CARE AVERAGE WAIT TIME:
Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System: 56.2 days
Loma Linda: 44 days
San Diego: 43.8 days
Northern California Health Care System: 43.5 days
Palo Alto: 42 days
Long Beach: 33.7 days
San Francisco: 29.7 days
Fresno: 25.5 days
NEW PATIENT SPECIALTY CARE AVERAGE WAIT TIME:
Fresno: 61.4 days
Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System: 55.1 days
Long Beach: 50.6 days
Loma Linda: 50.4 days
San Francisco: 49.7 days
San Diego: 43.7 days
Palo Alto: 42.1 days
Northern California Health Care System: 40.3 days
NEW PATIENT MENTAL HEALTH AVERAGE WAIT TIME:
Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System: 39.3 days
Long Beach: 38.1 days
San Francisco: 35.9 days
San Diego: 34.5 days
Fresno: 30.7 days
Loma Linda: 27.6 days
Palo Alto: 25.3 days
Northern California Health Care System: 22.3 days
The wait time for new patients to see a primary care provider in San Diego — 44 days — is the third longest of all VA Healthcare systems in California.
Jeffrey Gering, director of San Diego’s system, said one of their problems has been a lack of space. To that end, they’re opening up a new clinic in Sorrento Valley this summer. The site will have four primary care teams. The system is also in the process of hiring eight new nurse practitioners to help speed things along.
Gering admits more than 300 San Diego area veterans have been waiting 90 days to see a doctor.
“We’ve been working on moving those appointments up earlier, so they could be seen sooner, or, if the veteran wants to, we will arrange care in the private sector at our expense,” he said.
San Diego’s VA Healthcare System includes one hospital and six clinics. The system treated 75,000 veterans last year. So far in 2014, VA San Diego's patient load has increased by 5 percent.