Butterfield wants explanation for contradictory Durham wait times
North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield is giving federal officials until Wednesday to explain contradictory reports about wait times for veterans seeking mental health services in Durham.
An audit report released Monday indicated that new patients at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center wait an average of 104 days for mental health appointments – the worst in the country on that mark.
But a subsequent report from Durham VA officials countered that they couldn’t validate that data. More than half the new mental health patients were seen within 14 days during the current fiscal year, they said.
“These conflicting claims within the same department are a glaring example of the systemic failures within the VA health care system,” Butterfield wrote in a letter to Joan Mooney, assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. The discrepancy “is completely unacceptable and demands immediate clarification. Our nation’s veterans deserve true and accurate information.”
He asked that Mooney provide detailed responses to his questions no later than Wednesday.
“Our nation’s brave veterans put themselves in harm’s way and they deserve the highest quality medical care available,” Butterfield wrote. “It is our responsibility to ensure they have access to the care they need when they need it and are not subject to intolerable wait times.”
Facilities run by the Durham VA Medical Center are among those flagged in the audit for further investigation about scheduling irregularities and delays.