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Message from VAPAHCS Director Lisa Freeman

From: domainremoved <VA>
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2014 18:13:10 -0700

Dear Elected Official
This morning, VA released the Congressional Notification attached below.
I wanted to provide you a little more information regarding VA Palo Alto
Health Care System (VAPAHCS) specific information.
The New Enrollee Appointment Request (NEAR) list represents patients
from within and outside our 10 county catchment areas who have indicated
that they would like an appointment at VAPAHCS. We have reached out to
all patients on our NEAR list to ask them if they would like an
appointment and have made an appointment for any Veteran who indicated
they would like to be seen at any of VAPAHCS' sites of care.
The electronic wait list (EWL) represents the list of patients waiting
greater than 90 days for an appointment. At the present time, over 300
of the patients on the list represent patients undergoing an evaluation
in our pulmonary clinic for sleep disorder. These patients have already
been seen in our pulmonary clinic, but as there are multiple steps in
their evaluation, are kept on the EWL until the evaluation has been
completed. The remainder of the patients on the EWL is primarily in our
Dental clinic. Through a combination of expanded care within VA and use
of our community providers, we are working this number down. Our goal is
to schedule all the patients on the Dental EWL within 30 days. This will
be particularly challenging with our homeless Veterans but that is our
During the VHA-wide scheduling audits, six of our sites of care were
audited. During one of those audits, we understand that an employee
raised a concern that they had been asked to schedule patients in a way
that is not consistent with VA Palo Alto Health Care System or VHA
guidelines. I personally met with the scheduling staff at that site
following this concern being raised. My staff and I have reviewed the
training guidance given to our schedulers, and spoken to scheduling
supervisors to ensure that there is a common understanding of VHA
scheduling practices. In order to ensure that there is no confusion
about our scheduling practices, we are developing new scheduling
training that will be undertaken by all schedulers at all sites within
As always, please feel free to contact me directly if I may provide more
information to you; my cell number is 650-222-5617.
Lisa Freeman
Director, VA Palo Alto HCS
Congressional Notification
Good morning,
As you know, in mid-April the Secretary of Veterans Affairs directed the
Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to complete a nation-wide Access
Audit to ensure a full understanding of VA's policy among scheduling
staff, identify any inappropriate scheduling practices used by employees
regarding Veteran preferences for appointment dates, and review waiting
list management. VA provided an interim Audit report to Congress and
the public on May 30.
In addition to the Access Audit process, VA also gathered additional
data from each facility. This data includes: the number of appointments
scheduled at each facility; the number of requested appointments that
are on each facility's Electronic Wait List; the number of newly
enrolled patients who have not yet been scheduled by facility; and
Average Wait Times for Mental Health, Primary Care, and Specialty Care
at each facility, for both new and established patients.
VA is already taking corrective action to address issues identified in
the audit. Please see the attached press release which summarizes these
At the below first two links you will find fact sheets explaining the
data that is being posted.
You can find VHA's full audit report, as well as facility level data at
the following link:
VA has also posted quality and efficiency information known as SAIL
here: http://www.hospitalcompare.va.gov/index.asp
Additionally, VA has posted Mental Health Survey results from VA
providers from the last two years here:
Thank you for your interest. If you have questions or concerns, please
contact Robert Merchant at Robert.Merchant2_at_(domainremoved)

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Received on Mon Jun 09 2014 - 18:10:57 PDT

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