VA reports increase in number of August appointments scheduled at VA Iowa City HCS health facility in Sterling


The VA Iowa City Health Care System, subsidiary 636GT in Sterling, Illinois scheduled 1,001 pending appointments in August compared to 740 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, 968 had a wait time of 30 days or less (96.7%) and 33 appointments (3.3%) 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 Iowa City Health Care System - 636GT 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
636A8
Iowa City
20,727
22,385
-7.4%
636GF
Davenport
6,119
2,731
124.1%
636GG
Quincy
2,157
1,505
43.3%
636GH
Waterloo
2,381
1,824
30.5%
636GI
Galesburg
2,186
1,726
26.7%
636GJ
Dubuque
2,021
1,582
27.7%
636GN
Cedar Rapids
3,741
2,905
28.8%
636GS
Ottumwa
2,557
2,184
17.1%
636GT
Sterling
1,001
740
35.3%
636GU
Decorah
881
745
18.3%
636GW
Coralville
3,643
3,555
2.5%
636QC
Cedar Rapids
89
90
-1.1%
636QG
Iowa City
408
172
137.2%
636QI
Davenport
247
494
-50%
Source: U.S. Veteran's Administration

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