Veterans Affairs audit shows hundreds of Green Country veterans waiting on care

More than 120,000 veterans nationwide waited 90 days or more for care or were not seen at all, according to an investigation by the Veterans Affairs Department .

The department conducted an audit of 731 VA hospitals and large outpatient clinics . 

There are two VA hospitals in Oklahoma -- one is in Muskogee and another in Oklahoma City.

The 2NEWS Investigators pored over the 60-page audit, which details concerns over long wait times and delays in patient care.

A preliminary audit found that long wait times and falsified records were systemic throughout the VA.

The 2NEWS Investigators perused the numbers for Muskogee, and found more than 500 patients waiting over 30 days to be seen by a doctor. Another nearly 200 new patients cannot get care for at least 90 days.

According to Associate Director of the Muskogee VA Richard Crockett, the VA has not received any orders to delay care.

However, the number of  patients waiting over 30 days in Muskogee is 2 percent and better than the national average.

"We're still looking at where we can do better, make our processes better. There's always room for improvement," said Crockett.

The national audit found that VA officials based bonuses on VA wait times, causing some to wonder if money is at the forefront.

"I've never heard where cost is an issue," Crockett told 2NEWS. "It's always about what's best for the patient."

The VA is in the process of contacting more than 90,000 patients nationwide, including some in our area, who are beyond that 30-day mark. The VA is giving those patients the option of scheduling the appointment sooner if there is an opening, keeping their scheduled appointment or being referred to a non-VA provider.

The 2NEWS Investigators will continue to track our veterans' care and keep you updated.

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