VA reports increase in number of August appointments scheduled at VA Minneapolis HCS health facility in Mankato


The VA Minneapolis Health Care System, subsidiary 618GN in Mankato, Minnesota scheduled 2,018 pending appointments in August compared to 1,827 during the same period last year, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments this August, 1,978 had a wait time of 30 days or less (98%) and 40 appointments (2%) were scheduled more than 30 days out.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January 2019, reported that wait times for new appointments at VA health care facilities were similar or better to wait times at private-sector providers between 2014 and 2017.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), however, released a report in July 2019 that cautioned that the VA's data-tracking system only captures part of the appointment process and fails to account for the time that it takes the VA to enroll veterans in its health benefits program.

At a hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee after the report was released, Debra Draper, health care director at the GAO, said new patients may actually wait up to 70 days for an appointment when they first enroll for benefits.

The VA explains on its website that when veterans apply for benefits, they are assigned to 1 of 8 priority groups, with those who need immediate care due to service-related disabilities placed in higher priority groups. Veterans who do not have service-connected disabilities and who earn a higher income are placed in the lower priority groups.

VA Minneapolis Health Care System - 618GN Appointments Scheduled in August 2019 vs. August 2018

Facility Code
Location
Total Appointments Scheduled in August 2019
Total Appointments Scheduled in August 2018
Percent change in number of appointments
618
Minneapolis
72,360
71,092
1.8%
618BY
Superior
8,892
7,686
15.7%
618GA
St. James
229
320
-28.4%
618GB
Hibbing
1,351
1,159
16.6%
618GD
Maplewood
3,063
2,427
26.2%
618GE
Chippewa Falls
3,804
4,288
-11.3%
618GG
Rochester
3,051
3,559
-14.3%
618GH
Hayward
395
527
-25%
618GI
Ramsey
9,116
7,725
18%
618GJ
Shakopee
1,915
1,705
12.3%
618GK
Albert Lea
762
722
5.5%
618GL
Minneapolis
338
411
-17.8%
618GM
Rice Lake
1,122
764
46.9%
618GN
Mankato
2,018
1,827
10.5%
Source: U.S. Veteran's Administration

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