VA reports increase in number of August appointments scheduled at North Florida/South Georgia VA HCS health facility in Gainesville


The North Florida/South Georgia VA Health Care System, subsidiary 573QC in Gainesville, Florida scheduled 1,614 pending appointments in August compared to 1,134 during the same period last year, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments this August, 1,131 had a wait time of 30 days or less (70.1%) and 483 appointments (29.9%) were scheduled more than 30 days out.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January 2019, reported that wait times for new appointments at VA health care facilities were similar or better to wait times at private-sector providers between 2014 and 2017.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), however, released a report in July 2019 that cautioned that the VA's data-tracking system only captures part of the appointment process and fails to account for the time that it takes the VA to enroll veterans in its health benefits program.

At a hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee after the report was released, Debra Draper, health care director at the GAO, said new patients may actually wait up to 70 days for an appointment when they first enroll for benefits.

The VA explains on its website that when veterans apply for benefits, they are assigned to 1 of 8 priority groups, with those who need immediate care due to service-related disabilities placed in higher priority groups. Veterans who do not have service-connected disabilities and who earn a higher income are placed in the lower priority groups.

North Florida/South Georgia VA Health Care System - 573QC Appointments Scheduled in August 2019 vs. August 2018

Facility Code
Location
Total Appointments Scheduled in August 2019
Total Appointments Scheduled in August 2018
Percent change in number of appointments
573
Gainesville
58,101
58,621
-0.9%
573A4
Lake City
18,386
21,500
-14.5%
573BY
Jacksonville
43,854
41,731
5.1%
573GA
Valdosta
4,925
4,685
5.1%
573GD
Ocala
9,997
10,337
-3.3%
573GF
Tallahassee
26,840
26,183
2.5%
573GG
Lecanto
2,269
9,106
-75.1%
573GI
The Villages
30,495
29,177
4.5%
573GJ
St. Marys
4,259
4,684
-9.1%
573GK
Marianna
3,008
2,943
2.2%
573GL
Palatka
3,261
3,533
-7.7%
573GM
Waycross
3,111
2,509
24%
573GN
Perry
599
549
9.1%
573QC
Gainesville
1,614
1,134
42.3%
573QD
Gainesville
6,615
5,322
24.3%
573QE
Gainesville
5,005
4,817
3.9%
573QF
Gainesville
30
33
-9.1%
573QH
Ocala
5,263
5,341
-1.5%
573QJ
Jacksonville
11,515
10,267
12.2%
Source: U.S. Veteran's Administration

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