Madison VA Says Fewer Patients Are Waiting More Than 30 Days For Appointments

Spokesman Says Change Stems From Expanded Hours, More Staff

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

Officials at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Madison say expanded hours and increased staff mean that fewer veterans are waiting more than 30 days for an appointment.

A hospital spokesman said Monday there have been over 4,000 more appointments this year compared to last year and that 98 percent have been completed within 30 days.

Dr. Alan Bridges, the hospital’s chief physician, said the reduction in exceedingly long wait times are the result of adding night and weekend hours, as well as the addition of 57 new staff, including six new physicians. He said recent agreements with doctors at the University of Wisconsin and the Dean Clinic will make it easier to handle the increased patient load.

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“We have a lot better opportunity to get care for the veterans by providers that we have been using for years and feel provide good quality also,” said Bridges.

Bridges said that link to non-VA doctors was disrupted briefly last year by the new federal VA choice program that required outside physicians to join a new health network in order to get paid.

Correction: The original version of this story said that Madison VA officials were claiming that wait times for appointments were down at the hospital. Average wait times have actually increased. The percentage of veterans waiting 30 days or more for an appointment is what’s decreased.