VA calls patient three years later to set up appointment - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

VA calls patient three years later to set up appointment

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Three years ago, Tilda Reeder, said she signed her father, Willie, up for assistance from Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia.

Willie Reeder was a retired soldier who served for more than 20 years.

Tilda said her dad had other insurance, but wanted help from the VA for home healthcare and medical equipment.

Tilda said they went through the sign-up process, and were told they would receive a phone call when there was an appointment available.

The phone call did come for Willie Reeder, but not until June 2014.

"I hear, 'May I speak to Willie H. Reeder,'" Tilda said.  "I was a little taken aback."

Willie died in 2012.

Tilda asked who was calling, and said the woman on the other line told her she was from Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia.

Tilda asked why she was calling now, more than three years after they had applied.

Tilda said the woman on the phone told her, "Well, his name just came up on the list.''

Tilda's dad was lucky. He had other coverage, and was able to get most of the care he needed for kidney and heart issues.

She is glad her family had a way to help her dad, but she worries for other veterans.

"Why is it that they have worked so hard on behalf of this entire country, and then when we need to help them, we can't do it," Tilda said.

WIS reached out to officials with Dorn VA Medical Center for comment on this story, but we have not heard back.

An internal Veterans Affairs audit released Monday reveals 13 percent of VA schedulers across the country reported that a supervisor told them to falsify documents and make long wait times appear shorter.

Patients seeking care through the Dorn VA are waiting an average of 77 days for their first appointment with a primary care doctor. That wait time is more than five times longer than the department's goal.

VA guidelines say veterans should be seen within 14 days of their desired date for a primary care appointment. The department now says meeting that target was unattainable given existing resources and growing demand.

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