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Joliet Veterans Clinic Flagged for Further Review: Audit

Hines VA hospital also among facilities targeted for further study.

In an audit released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs this week, Joliet's Community-Based Outpatient Clinic was among several Illinois veterans facilities flagged for further review.

The so-called "mega-clinic" opened in March 2013 at 1201 Eagle St. 

The audit showed that nationwide, more than 57,000 veterans have been waiting 90 days or more for their first medical appointments, and another 64,000 never received appointments even after enrolling with the VA.

The audit began in mid-April, and the Joliet facility was one of several clinics within its service area flagged for further review. Others include the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital and facilities in Indiana and Wisconsin.

"As a result of these audits, some locations were flagged for further review and investigation. Any instance of suspected willful misconduct is being reported promptly to the VA Office of Inspector General," the VA said in a report issued Monday.

Other findings of the audit system-wide include:
  • A complicated scheduling process resulted in confusion among scheduling clerks and front-line supervisors in a number of locations. 
  • A 14 day wait-time performance target for new appointments was not only inconsistently deployed throughout the health care system but was not attainable given growing demand for services and lack of planning for resource requirements. 
  • Overall, 13 percent of scheduling staff interviewed indicated they received instruction (from supervisors or others) to enter a date different than what the Veteran had requested in the appointment scheduling system.
    8% of scheduling staff indicated they used alternatives to the official Electronic Wait List (EWL). In some cases, pressures were placed on schedulers to utilize unofficial lists or engage in inappropriate practices in order to make waiting times appear more favorable. 
  • 8 percent of scheduling staff indicated they used alternatives to the official Electronic Wait List (EWL). In some cases, pressures were placed on schedulers to utilize unofficial lists or engage in inappropriate practices in order to make waiting times appear more favorable. 

Joliet's VA clinic is located near the future site of Hope Manor Joliet, a housing facility for veterans and their families that was approved by the city council in May.
lala June 12, 2014 at 07:47 AM
Why cant the veterans just go to any doctor or hospital they choose like those on government assistance do? So ridiculous that anyone should have to wait months to see a doctor and get medications.
Robert Vanderweit June 12, 2014 at 08:17 AM
I'm a veteran, and never had trouble getting an appointment when I needed one.
Joki2 June 12, 2014 at 08:39 AM
Serve your country and like anything else your dedication is forgotten. VA Hospital officials should be ashamed of themselves.
Kathy rios June 15, 2014 at 08:32 AM
Robert, thank you for your service. I'm glad you had no problems receiving your benefits. It's sad that so many others weren't as fortunate as you. Our veterans should be a top priority considering the sacrifice they make for our country.
amk June 22, 2014 at 09:14 AM
Yes for all they do for us you would think that they can go to any Dr of their choice

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