Local VA hospital says wait times are down for patients

INDIANAPOLIS - Officials with the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis said they are making big strides in seeing patients sooner. Officials said wait times for appointments are down and they want the public to see the level of care they provide.

The announcement comes amid the growing national scandal surrounding poor VA patient care. The scandal resulted in the resignation of Secretary Eric Shinseki.

An audit of all of its medical facilities found that more than 57,000 veterans are waiting on their first appointment to a VA hospital. At least 3,400 veterans in Indianapolis are waiting an average of 45 days. The VA’s goal is for patients to be seen within 14 days.

Roudebush Medical Center Director Tom Mattice said they are meeting the VA's goal.

"We have appointments available for new patients on July 1st," Mattice said. "We've fixed that within the past six weeks."

The VA has quickly moved to overhaul certain practices at its medical facilities, saying that there will be more scrutiny, accountability and a revision of scheduling practices and standards.

While Roudebush was flagged by auditors for further review, hospital officials say they aren't sure why. Neither are some patients.

"If I need to get in, I get in at the soonest possible date based on my schedule and not their availability," patient Rick Stewart said.

In a move to become more transparent, Roudebush is holding open houses for the public to show what it says is an outstanding level of care for veterans.

The Roudebush VA Medical Center will be open to the public Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt

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