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August 6, 2014

Health Care at the VA: Recommendations for Change

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Texas Heart Institute, Houston, Texas
  • 2Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
  • 3Division of Cardiology, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston, Texas
  • 4Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
  • 5The Surgical Service, Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
  • 6Department of Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA. 2014;312(5):481-482. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.8054

The current controversy surrounding Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers has reached national concern, with Congress enacting new law in a matter of weeks. Disturbing reports are emerging daily of VA facilities keeping double sets of appointment books, and a report recently released from the Office of the Inspector General described one VA as claiming that its veteran patients’ average wait time for new appointments was 24 days, whereas the OIG found it to be 115 days.1 Of even greater concern were the 1700 veterans found to have no appointments made in the system, still awaiting care.