There have been nearly 700 formal complaints about the wait times at the Madison Veterans Hospital over the past two years. That’s according to records obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal.
Wait times at the Madison location were the longest of all three VA hospitals in Wisconsin, acknowledges hospital spokesman Tim Donovan, though they are getting better. “We’ve made a lot of improvements in our ability to deal with veterans seeking new patient primary care appointments since that.”
A new patient would wait an average of 51 days before seeing a primary care physician at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, according to a recent audit. Donovan notes, that time has been reduced to less than 18 days.
The audit had indicated an increased wait time in May, Donovan says, as a result of new patients seeking treatment. “So we were a little out of balance with our resources and we’ve filled some vacancies among our primary care providers and the wait time is now down to what I think is a pretty respectable 17 1/2 days.”
Donovan says scores of appointments generate no complaints; in fact, he says, the hospital probably gets more compliments for the quality of care than criticisms. Many of the complaints had to do with actual waiting times as well as getting prescriptions filled, the length of time required to get test results, and cancelled appointments.
A town hall meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening to give veterans and their families an opportunity to voice their concerns. Hospital executives will be on hand, as well as clinical and administrative staff, and the hospital’s patient advocate team. Those experts will closely with any veteran who needs assistance.
A brief update will be given to attendees on what the Madison VA Hospital has done to reduce wait times over the past several months. Officials will also discuss other improvements to patient care.
Similar town hall meetings are being held at VA facilities across the nation at the direction of the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the hospital auditorium and is expected to last about 90 minutes.