Wait Times for VA Health Care Growing in Connecticut

Jul 7, 2014

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal wants the VA to explain why veterans are waiting longer than 30 days to be seen in Connecticut and nationwide.

The federal VA operates two hospitals and six outpatient clinics in Connecticut.  

Blumenthal's office released information on appointments made at these facilities from May 15 to June 15. Almost 52,000 appointments were scheduled during that time, and 94 percent of them had wait times of 30 days or less. The Senator said it's concerning that in one month, those appointments that had wait times over 30 days has almost tripled. 

"The significance is special for Connecticut," Blumenthal said, "because we were assured that these delays were not occurring in Connecticut -- that Connecticut has been spared deadly delays, falsification of records, [and] manipulation of data that has been prevalent elsewhere in the nation."  He said that now that the VA is no longer concealing true wait times, it may account for the growth nationwide. The data still needs to be explained by the health care system, however, he said. Blumethal sent a letter to Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson asking for more information. Meanwhile, the VA Connecticut Healthcare System told WNPR that it cannot explain the reason why appointments with wait times of one month or longer have almost tripled.