Local VA’s Wait Times In Primary, Specialty Care Better Than Average
PLAINS TWP. — The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center has better average wait times for patients seeking primary care or specialty care when compared to the national average for all VA hospitals, but longer wait times for patients making an appointment for mental health. Veterans at the Plains Twp. facility wait an average of 1.7 days for a primary care appointment and 4.7 days for an appointment with a specialist, according to data from Sept. 1, said Russell Lloyd, the facility’s director, during a town hall meeting Tuesday. The averages are updated monthly. The national averages are 6.4 days before seeing a primary care physician and 10.2 days before seeing a specialist. But veterans making an appointment for mental health purposes wait about 8.8 days before they can be seen, compared to a national average of 4.4 days. “We’re looking to get these numbers as low as we can, because that means we are getting our veterans seen as quickly as possible,” Lloyd said. The quarterly public meetings are a chance for officials to share information with veterans and for veterans to share their thoughts about the care with facility staff. Lloyd also talked about recent changes to the facility’s work, such as tele-medicine, in which patients and physicians communicate online, and the addition of a dermatologist to the staff. Lucius Washington, 56, of Wilkes-Barre, was in attendance to learn more for the veterans of Amvets Post 59 in Hanover Twp., where he is the commander. Veterans there want more information about what the facility offers and how they can use it. He doesn’t have enough information at the post to hand out and he’s concerned it might be out of date. Officials suggested http://explore.va.gov as a resource for people wanting to learn more. The facility’s own website, https://www.wilkes-barre.va.gov, also has information. “They’ll be able to find out what they need, when they need it and if they’re eligible,” Washington said. Contact the writer: email@example.com 570-821-2051, @CVBillW For more information about Veterans Affairs benefits, visit explore.va.gov.