04-25-2018  3:25 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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Ballots Out For Delivery Today

USPS delivers ballots Wednesday, April 25 for the May 15 Primary Election ...

GFO Announces Upcoming Classes, Workshops & Special Interest Groups

Upcoming events include regional special interest groups, Cuban genealogy talk and a DNA workshop ...

Event: Going Beyond the Flint Water & Housing Crises

Recode invites speakers to discuss the Flint water crisis and its relationship to gentrification, displacement, and housing crises ...

Think & Drink with Rinku Sen and Mary Li

Event takes place Wednesday, May 16, at Alberta Rose Theater ...



The Skanner News Endorsements for May 2018 Elections

Read The Skanner News' endorsements for Oregon, Multnomah County, Portland City Council and more ...

Will HUD Secretary Ben Carson Enforce the Fair Housing Act?

Julianne Malveaux questions HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s ability to enforce the Fair Housing Act ...

Waiting While Black in Philadelphia Can Get You Arrested

Reggie Shuford on the daily indignities African-Americans face in Philadelphia and around the country ...

Black People Must Vote or Reap the Consequences

Jeffrey Boney on the importance of voting in the Black community ...



CS2 Matthew Oberg with the Navy Operation Support Center performs a flag fold done at military funerals during the Veterans Day observance Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School in Jackson, Wis. (John Ehlke/West Bend Daily News via AP)
KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Veterans' hospitals and clinics are beefing up staff and seeing more patients, but the number of appointments not completed within 30 days continues to grow, Department of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald said Friday.

Speaking at the National Press Club in advance of Veterans Day, McDonald described a VA that is doing much to address problems that investigators say caused chronic delays for veterans seeking care. McDonald said the VA completed 3.1 million more appointments in the latest fiscal year than the previous one. It also hired thousands of new doctors and nurses.

Still, the organization is struggling to keep up. McDonald said the number of appointments not completed in 30 days has grown from 300,000 to nearly 500,000.

McDonald said more veterans are coming to the VA despite often having access to Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance. He said the VA is more convenient, effective and cheaper. A veteran would have to pay a $5,000 co-pay to get a knee replacement through Medicare, but not at the VA. For veterans with hearing loss, going to the VA can save them about $4,000 compared to other coverage.

"Access to care has improved," McDonald said. "But here's the inevitability: Improved access means more demand."
McDonald said in the wake of the wait-time scandal, some lawmakers asked him about whether veterans should just be given vouchers so they could access health care wherever they want. He said he studied the issue.

"What I discovered was the VA is not only essential for veterans, the VA is essential for American medicine because we're on the cutting edge of so many treatments," he said.

McDonald said the VA would be holding a new event at all of its hospitals around the country on Nov. 14, where teams of clinical leaders, administrators and volunteers will be reaching out to veterans identified as having the most acute needs to ensure their health care needs are being met.

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