VA reports increase in number of appointments at VA Puget Sound HCS health facility in Mount Vernon in August


The VA Puget Sound Health Care System, subsidiary 663GC in Mount Vernon, Washington scheduled 3,520 pending appointments in August compared to 3,266 the previous month, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments, 3,353 had a wait time of 30 days or less (95.3%) and 167 appointments (4.7%) 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 Puget Sound Health Care System Appointments Scheduled in August vs. August

Facility Code
Location
Total Appointments Scheduled in September
Total Appointments Scheduled in August
Percent change in number of appointments
663
Seattle, WA
40,331
40,559
-0.6%
663A4
American Lake, WA
32,941
32,025
2.9%
663GA
Bellevue, WA
1,890
2,347
-19.5%
663GB
Bremerton, WA
1,487
1,286
15.6%
663GC
Mount Vernon, WA
3,520
3,266
7.8%
663GD
South Sound, WA
2,980
3,018
-1.3%

Source: U.S. Veteran's Administration

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