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VA reports increase in number of appointments at VA New Mexico HCS health facility in Albuquerque in August

Government

By Local Labs News Service | Oct 16, 2019

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The VA New Mexico Health Care System, subsidiary 501 in Albuquerque, New Mexico scheduled 64,642 pending appointments in August compared to 63,537 the previous month, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments, 57,223 had a wait time of 30 days or less (88.5%) and 7,419 appointments (11.5%) 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 to or better than 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 one of eight priority groups, with those who need immediate care due to service-related disabilities placed in higher priority groups. Veterans who don’t have service-connected disabilities and who earn a higher income are placed in the lower priority groups.

VA New Mexico Health Care System Appointments Scheduled in August vs. July

Facility Code
Location
Total Appointments Scheduled in August
Total Appointments Scheduled in July
Percent change in number of appointments
501
Albuquerque, NM (Raymond G. Murphy)
64,642
63,537
1.7%
501G2
Las Vegas, NM
907
904
0.3%
501GA
Artesia, NM
1,599
1,405
13.8%
501GB
Farmington, NM
2,351
2,236
5.1%
501GC
Silver City, NM
828
860
-3.7%
501GD
Gallup, NM
1,230
1,219
0.9%
501GE
Espanola, NM
780
857
-9%
501GI
Alamogordo, NM
1,467
1,490
-1.5%
501GJ
Durango, CO
1,984
1,951
1.7%
501GK
Santa Fe, NM
3,012
3,018
-0.2%
501GM
Northwest Metro, NM
5,474
5,528
-1%
501GN
Taos, NM
910
938
-3%
501HB
Raton, NM
578
588
-1.7%

Source: U.S. Veteran's Administration

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