Progress Report Show Improvements At Tennessee's VA Hospitals And Clinics

Posted at 6:41 PM, Aug 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-07 17:17:13-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – A progress report on how the Department of Veterans Affairs in Middle Tennessee is trying to address complaints about its patient care was released Monday.

It showed progress has been made but there's still a long way to go.

A director with the VA’s Tennessee Valley Healthcare system said the agency has been focused on fixing the long wait times to talk with a doctor. Many patients had reported waiting more than 30 days for an appointment.

Last year in the Tennessee Valley region the electronic waiting list for people who need an appointment was more than 4,500 people. This year, they say it's down to less than 600.

The VA said it's hired 214 new staff members over the past year to help deal with the backlogs.

It also said it’s expanding some of its current buildings to provide more space for patients and doctors, including a new community based outpatient clinic in Sumner County that’s expected to open in late 2016.

The director said the staffing increases are already making a difference.

“I think that by being more staffed, especially with more support staff on board, that's been a big positive,” said director Juan Morales. “The patients have the support staff that is needed.”

The VA said it met with veteran focus groups and conducted town hall meetings to come up with their action plan.