The VA appointment database has yielded yet another surprise. An assistant deputy undersecretary told The Associated Press that patients getting quick care were not part of a statistical analysis that found excessive average waits for medical care at many facilities.
Data released by Veterans Affairs officials earlier this week appeared to confirm that new patients at the agency’s medical centers were routinely waiting 30, 50 or even more than 90 days to see a doctor. It turns out those statistics came with some big caveats.
Average wait times at many of the facilities are likely much shorter, Philip Matkovsky, an assistant deputy undersecretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs, told The Associated Press on Friday.
He said information about patients who received care very quickly was left out of the analysis for technical reasons.
“They are valid numbers,” he said of audit results issued Monday, but acknowledged that the exclusion of those receiving swift care and other factors led to longer average reported wait times for some facilities than actually experienced by veterans.
You can read the full Associated Press report that explains how the recent audit “snapshot” of VA appointments did not include some data that would bring down the average wait times reported initially.