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Monday, January 27, 2020

VA reports increase in number of appointments at Oscar G. Johnson VAMC health facility in Ironwood in August

Government

By Metric Media News Service | Jan 13, 2020

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The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center, subsidiary 585GD in Ironwood, Michigan scheduled 327 pending appointments in August compared to 322 the previous month, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments, 320 had a wait time of 30 days or less (97.9%) and seven appointments (2.1%) were scheduled more than 30 days out.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January 2019 reported that wait times for new appointments at VA health care facilities were similar to or better than wait times at private-sector providers between 2014 and 2017.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), however, released a report in July 2019 that cautioned that the VA's data-tracking system only captures part of the appointment process and fails to account for the time that it takes the VA to enroll veterans in its health benefits program.

At a hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee after the report was released, Debra Draper, health care director at the GAO, said new patients may actually wait up to 70 days for an appointment when they first enroll for benefits.

The VA explains on its website that when veterans apply for benefits, they are assigned to one of eight priority groups, with those who need immediate care due to service-related disabilities placed in higher priority groups. Veterans who don’t have service-connected disabilities and who earn a higher income are placed in the lower priority groups.

Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center Appointments Scheduled in August vs. August

Facility Code
Location
Total Appointments Scheduled in September
Total Appointments Scheduled in August
Percent change in number of appointments
585
Iron Mountain, MI (Oscar G. Johnson)
9,953
9,907
0.5%
585GA
Hancock, MI
545
529
3%
585GB
Rhinelander, WI
934
864
8.1%
585GC
Menominee, MI
634
547
15.9%
585GD
Ironwood, MI
327
322
1.6%
585GF
Manistique, MI
679
557
21.9%
585HA
Marquette, MI
1,424
1,348
5.6%

Source: U.S. Veteran's Administration

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