Of the 75 clinics and hospitals with the highest percentage of patients waiting more than 30 days for care, 12 are in Tennessee or Kentucky, 11 are in eastern North Carolina and the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, 11 are in Georgia or southern Alabama, and six are in northern Florida.
Seven more were clustered in the region between Albuquerque, N.M., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
Those 47 clinics and hospitals represent just a fraction of the more than 1,000 VA facilities nationwide, but they were responsible for more than one in five of the appointments that took longer than 60 days to complete.
That has meant big headaches for veterans such as Rosie Noel, a retired Marine sergeant awarded the Purple Heart in Iraq after rocket shrapnel slashed open her cheek and broke her jaw.
Noel, 47, said it took 10 months for the VA to successfully schedule her for a follow-up exam and biopsy after an abnormal cervical cancer screening test. Her first scheduled appointment in February 2014 was postponed due to a medical provider’s family emergency, she said. Her make-up appointment at the VA hospital in Fayetteville, one of the most backed-up facilities in the country, was canceled when she was nearly two hours into the drive from her home in Sneads Ferry on the coast.
Vancouver VA division
o One of 12 sites in the regional VA Portland Health Care System.
o 48,671 appointments completed September through February.
o 4.07 percent: Care delayed by 31 days or more (1,979 cases).
National VA system
o About 1,000 facilities.
o 27.5 million appointments completed September-February.
o 2.8 percent: National average of delays of 31 days or more.
o 30 days: VA goal is for patients to be seen within 30 days.