Audit reveals long wait times at Alabama VA hospitals - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Audit reveals long wait times at Alabama VA hospitals

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The wait time at the Birmingham VA hospital is 22 days, much shorter than the average of 47 days in Tuscaloosa and 75 days in Montgomery. Source: WBRC video The wait time at the Birmingham VA hospital is 22 days, much shorter than the average of 47 days in Tuscaloosa and 75 days in Montgomery. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

The Veterans Administration released an audit on Monday showing 57,000 patients have to wait 90 days or longer to see a doctor.

Alabama was criticized in the audit. The Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System, which includes VA hostpital in Montgomery and Tuskegee, had wait times around 75 days.

The wait time at the Tuscaloosa VA Hospital was 47 days. The news was a little better for the Birmingham VA. A spokesman for the hospital said their wait time was only 22 days.

"We are very pleased for what our staff do here for our veterans. We want to make sure our veterans get quality access here to meet their healthcare needs is a our major goal," Jeff Hester with the Birmingham VA said.

Hester said to stay on top of their numbers, hospital leadership meets each day to address the wait time situation.

"If there is a need out there, do you need an additional doctor, additional staff? Not only here at the main facility but in the community clinics in Northern Alabama," Hester said.

The Birmingham VA sees hundreds of veterans each day. Many are pleased with the healthcare they receive.

"Very good, I've had no trouble at all with them. The service has been very good," Larry Champlee said.

"They just give you an appointment. I come here every month for my checkup," Howard Goodsell said.

Not everyone agreed. Perry Don Killingsworth broke his back while in the Army. He said there have been delays getting the specialty care.

"They wouldn't even talk to me about going to an outside doctor if the stuff in the news wasn't happening," Killingsworth sid.

The Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System will be getting a second review from the Veterans Administration. To lower the wait times, reports will be sent out every two weeks to monitor the process.

Montgomery Congresswoman Martha Roby has been outraged by the long wait time.

"This did not happen all at once. Secretary Shinseki had an opportunity to address the problem and God bless his service to this country, but they failed our veterans in a terrible way," Roby said.

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