Nor Cal VA Medical Facilities Say They Are Clear of Scandal

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Veterans Affairs medical facilities in Northern California have undergone audits of patient wait times following the scandal that prompted comments by President Obama.

The president said veterans who wait too long for medical care is intolerable.

“They didn’t find any medical wait list,” said David Stockwell, Medical Center Director for VA Northern California.

Stockwell was referring to the practice uncovered in an Arizona facility where shadow wait lists were used to hide patient wait times that were five months or more.  Some vets died before they could be treated.

The state VFW says it is anxiously awaiting the results of an investigation into VA medical facilities because its membership is made up of combat veterans who are encountering unique medical problems.

“Our younger veterans especially who are facing things in Iraq and Afghanistan that in many cases hadn’t been seen before,” said Steve Milano,, the Assistant Adjutant Quartermaster of the state VFW.

He said the wait times were unacceptable and want corrective action taken.

“We want to let this investigation play out and make sure that the proper folks if they’ve done wrong are punished,” said Milano.

The state VFW said they have not heard complaints about northern California VA medical facilities and several patients at the Mather facility told FOX40 News that they were happy with the wait times and the quality of care.

Stockwell said the medical center at Mather Field has recently expanded and the center and its network of clinics is seeing 20,000 more patients than it did five years ago.

“We have waits but they didn’t find any situation where we are not documenting the hidden drawer wait list.  We have it all in out electronic wait list and we are aware of who’s waiting,” said Stockwell.

He said the wait times in Northern California VA facilities compare well with other medical systems.  Patients are sometimes sent to outside facilities for specialized care.

“There are often times where we cannot find it available quicker than we could provide it so I think we are very comparable,” said Stockwell.

But he said he is disturbed over the practices uncovered at other VA facilities. Stockwell also said that if there is anything good that came out of the audits ordered by the head of the VA, it’s that the staff was able to reinforce their goal of quality care for vets.

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