VA officials cite improvements from two years of changes - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

VA officials cite improvements from two years of changes

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -

Officials with Jackson VA Medical Center are trying to improve patient conditions at the hospital. Tuesday was National VA Press day, which officials say is just one of the changes made to answer patient complaints.

Jackson Veterans Administration officials sat down to address the media and answer questions about improvements, a move to transparency that  they say is benefiting the 45,000 veterans served in the state.

Following the wait time scandal two years ago, officials say wait times in Mississippi as of June 23 were 11 days for primary care and nine days for specialty care.

That's four days more than the wait for primary care in 2015 of seven days and more than six days for specialty care. The longer wait is due to a nationwide shortage of doctors.

"We need to fill those positions," said Jackson VA Center Director Dr. David Walker. "The VA  nationally is about to implement a model using telehealth to, actually teleprimary health, and this is actually one of the ones that being looked at".

To further reduce waits patients are enrolled in the Choice program, allowing them to see local physicians.

There are now more town hall meetings across the state and more information available on the VA web site.

Officials dealing with VA claims and benefits said the backlog has been cut.

"We reduced our backlog which of course is cases pending over 125 days from a high of 611,000 to a present high of 77,000 reducing it roughly by 87%," said VA Regional Office Director Darryl Brady.

According to Jackson VA administrators, since 2014 there has been a complete change in leadership and in that time 106 nurses and administrators,including 11 doctors have been hired.

The search is currently underway to hire at least five more primary care physicians.

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