Report Summary

Title: Healthcare Inspection–Appointment Scheduling and Access Patient Call Center, VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California
Report Number: 12-04108-96
Issue Date: 1/28/2013
City/State: San Diego, CA
VA Office: Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
Report Author: Office of Healthcare Inspections
Report Type: Healthcare Inspections
Release Type: Unrestricted
Summary: The VA Office of Inspector General Office of Healthcare Inspections conducted an inspection to determine the validity of allegations regarding scheduling primary care appointments at the Patient Call Center (PCC), VA San Diego Healthcare System (the system), San Diego, CA. The complainant alleged that a PCC agent refused to schedule a follow-up appointment and an urgent appointment. The complainant also alleged that he was forced to seek medical treatment at a community hospital emergency department for an infection in his finger, and that he was at risk for amputation of his finger due to lack of medical attention at the system.
We found that the PCC agent did not follow procedures for managing calls and that the PCC agents’ failure to follow PCC procedure caused delays. While the system failed to provide timely follow-up, we determined that the complainant was not denied access to care. We recommended that the System Director ensures that PCC agents follow standard operating procedures for scheduling follow-up appointments and managing non-urgent symptomatic calls, and ensures that timeframes for the primary care teams to follow-up with patients be established.