Madison VA Hospital Drafts Plan For Ensuring Timely Care

Hospital Holds Public Forum On Plan To Reduce Waiting Times

Photo: Patty (CC-BY-NC-SA).

Officials at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Madison say they will submit a plan to Washington, D.C., in the next few weeks for making sure that patients are being taken care of in a timely manner.

At a public hearing last night, Gary Segner of Monroe said he was frustrated that he had to wait nearly three months to have a brain aneurysm surgically removed.

“After you’re told you’ve got a brain aneurysm … you want to get it taken out right away or something done with it instead of having to wait several months and worry about having it rupture,” he said.

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Another veteran at the public hearing complained that he had waited too long to see a primary care doctor.

In May, it was reported the average wait for new patients was 50 days. Officials at the Madison VA Hospital say that a surge of new patients combined with staff retirements and illness created “a perfect storm” that led to the delays. Officials say they’ve since added staff.

One veteran, Robert Hall of Madison, said that even prior to the addition of staff, he’d never had a problem getting an appointment. He said he was also very satisfied with his lung transplant the VA gave him in December.

“The care at the VA has been superb,” he said. “The doctors, the nurse practitioners, the nurses, the physical therapists, the respiratory therapists and everybody else — there’s nobody on the professional staff I wouldn’t choose to care for me or one of my family members in the future.”

While Hall wasn’t the only veteran offering praise, most people at the hearing asked for improvement. Female veterans, for example, complained they have different problems than men. In response, VA officials said a new women’s health clinic is planned.

Someone also said the hospital needed more veterans on staff. Officials said 27 percent of staff are veterans.

One of the biggest demands facing the VA is the need for orthopedic surgeries. Next year, officials say they will have another operating room and perform evening surgery, which is expected to expand surgical volume by 50 percent.