Louisiana lawmakers react to VA wait times - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Louisiana lawmakers react to VA wait times

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News/AP) - Data from the Veterans Affairs Department shows the average wait for a new patient at Louisiana's three major VA medical centers runs anywhere from 30 to 55 days, depending on the hospital and the type of care.

In Alexandria, the average wait is 33 days for a primary care appointment, 55 days for specialty care and 32 days for mental health.

In New Orleans, that average is 52 days for primary, 45 for specialty and 27 for mental health appointments.

In Shreveport, the average is 44 days for primary, 47 for specialty and 31 for mental health appointments.

More than 1,500 new patients seeking appointments at one of the three facilities were unable to get an appointment in 90 days or less.

US Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA) released the following statement:

"This data further confirms that the VA is broken and mismanaged. Secretary Shinseki’s resignation and this audit does nothing for the veterans in Louisiana who have been waiting nearly two months to receive care. As doctor, I know the importance of having a patient-centered healthcare system and I will continue pushing for reforms that work for, not against our veterans."

US Senator David Vitter (R-LA) release this statement:

“The VA system is no place for negligence, or in some cases abandonment, and it’s completely unacceptable to provide anything but high-quality care for our veterans who served to protect our nation and our freedom. This audit on wait times just proves the exact sentiments I’ve heard from veterans across the state, and why I requested this information in a letter to former Secretary Shinseki in May. President Obama and the VA need to take charge, lead, and stop the widespread crisis.”

US Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) released the following:

“The extremely long wait times at Louisiana VA facilities found in today's report are completely unacceptable and have further broken the trust of our veterans. It unfortunately highlights a failure of leadership at all levels of the VA and the strain our VA system has faced for a decade as veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam grow older and troops return home from Afghanistan and Iraq. I have requested a thorough review of all VA medical facilities in Louisiana and called for an investigation into any misconduct that may have occurred," Sen. Landrieu said. "To keep the promises we have made to Louisiana's 300,000 veterans and regain their trust, we can start this week by passing legislation that both Democrats and Republicans support to green-light two clinics in Southwest Louisiana, provide an additional $500 million for hundreds of new doctors and nurses for appropriate bedside staffing where it matters the most and allow the leadership of the VA to take swift action against incompetent officials.”

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