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Veterans Health Administration

VA Access Audit

At the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), our most important mission is to provide the high quality health care and benefits Veterans have earned and deserve — when and where they need it. In mid-April, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs directed the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to complete a nation-wide Access Audit to ensure a full understanding of VA’s policy among scheduling staff, identify any inappropriate scheduling practices used by employees regarding Veteran preferences for appointment dates, and review waiting list management.

VA is already taking corrective action to address issues resulting from the audit.

On Wednesday, May 21, VA launched the Accelerating Access to Care Initiative, a nation-wide program to ensure timely access to care. As directed by President Obama, VHA has identified Veterans across the system experiencing waits that do not meet Veterans expectations for timeliness. VA has begun contacting and scheduling all Veterans who are waiting for care in VA clinics or arranging for care in the community, while simultaneously addressing the underlying issues that impede Veterans’ access.

In addition to the Access Audit process, VA also gathered additional data from each facility. This data includes: The number of appointments scheduled at each facility; the number of requested appointments that are on each facility’s Electronic Wait List; The number of newly enrolled patients who have not yet been scheduled by facility; and Average Wait Times for Mental Health, Primary Care, and Specialty Care at each facility, for both new and established patients.

Below you can find information about the complete findings of the Access Audit nation-wide, and in your VISN.

Twice Monthly Updates

VA is posting regular data updates showing progress on its efforts to accelerate access to quality health care for Veterans who have been waiting for appointments. These access data updates will be posted at the middle and end of each month at VA.gov. The facility-level data show the current status of VA's:

  • New Enrollee Appointment Request (NEAR) List: The total number of newly enrolled Veterans that have asked for an appointment during the enrollment process.  Out of an abundance of caution, VA reviewed the NEAR data from the past decade to identify any individual who: 
    • has enrolled for care since the inception of enrollment,
    • indicated they desired an appointment on the enrollment form, and
    • has not yet had a scheduled appointment in the VHA health care system.
  • Electronic Wait List (EWL) Count: The total number of all new patients (those who have not been seen in the specific clinic in the previous 24 months) for whom appointments cannot be scheduled in 90 days or less; and
  • Total Appointments Scheduled: Every appointment scheduled at the facility except surgery and medical procedures.

August 14 Data  — Printer Friendly Version | Condensed Chart Version

  • The term "pending" has replaced the term "prospective," which predicts the availability of scheduled appointments in the future for new Veterans on a given date, and the term "completed" replaced the term "retrospective," which indicates when appointments actually occurred.

July 31 Data — Printer Friendly Version | Condensed Chart Version

July 17 Data — Printer Friendly Version | Condensed Chart Version

July 3 Data — Printer Friendly Version | Condensed Chart Version

June 19 Data — Printer Friendly Version | Condensed Chart Version

June 9 Data — Printer Friendly Version | Condensed Chart Version
Initial data published for 5/15/14 contained accurate data except for the count and percent of appointments less than 30 days. The timeliness for new patients were erroneously computed using the "desired data" for the Veterans' appointment versus the date the appointment was initially created. The net effect of this error is that, as published, the 6/9/14 report represents 6.7% more appointments occurring within 30 days. This current posting of data corrects this error.

Archived Data

Factsheets from June 9, 2014 are available in the Access Audit Data Archive.