Veterans Affairs aims to restore trust

House Veterans Affairs Committee looks for answers

A betrayal of trust by an organization supposed to be there to help.  What many are calling "deadly delays" in care and long wait times at VA hospitals across the country have the Department of Veterans Affairs making changes.
 
During a House Veterans Affairs Committee meeting, interim Secretary Sloan Gibson had to answer tough questions about the agencies failures.  The Chairman of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees offered competing new proposals to fix problems within the agency.
 
Representative Tim Huelskamp, a Republican from Kansas asked "How do we restore that trust if we don't know the extent of the problem?"
 
Gibson responded saying, "You start where you are."  That's when Representative Huelskamp said "You start by spending money."
 
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Gibson went on to say, "No. You start where you are. You start by articulating expectations about how we're going to operate. You start by getting veterans off of wait lists and into clinics. You start by fixing the chronic scheduling problems that exist.
 
On ABC2 In Focus we've been closely following the wait time problem within the Maryland VA health system.  The most recent audit shows the average wait time for a new patient, trying to get a primary care appointment, through the Baltimore VA is about 76 days.  That's an improvement from when the wait time problem was first exposed, back in May is was 81 days.
 
Our stories on the VA problems helped speed up the wait time for one local veteran.  Edward Jolson has been a VA patient in Maryland for about a decade.  In May he was told he couldn't be seen until September by his primary care doctor.  After our story aired Jolson's appointment was moved up .  He saw a doctor in June.

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