Local VA Medical Health Care System Says Audit Report Is Mislead - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Local VA Medical Health Care System Says Audit Report Is Misleading

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Amarillo, TX - According to Amarillo's VA Health Care System, a national report ranking it as one of the top 10 longest waits for new patients seeking mental health care is misleading.

Michael Lambert, the Chief of Mental Health Service at the VA told NewsChannel 10 the national auditing process has counted old patients as new in its report, increasing the average waiting time per "new" mental health patient.

Lambert said there is no access problem for new mental health patients at the Amarillo VA.

He said the number that was reported by the VA Audit study is misleading and is counting the wait time for veterans that have already been established in mental health care.

He also said any time a mental health clinic is re-designated, revised or upgraded, the computer will count a patient as new.
  
The VA audit reported an average waiting period for new mental health patients at about 60 days, while Lambert says it is actually only 8 days.

The number does not reflect what the VA mental health is providing to it's veteran community, said Lambert.
 
He says the clinic is very dedicated to veteran care.

A local veteran, Larry Williams, served in the National Guard from 1972-86, and said the VA has always been good to him.

He said they're trying to improve things for veterans.

Lambert says mental health sees 86 percent of all new vets within 14 days and has received compliments on the timely appointment scheduling.

The VA said with the audits being conducted now, it is always looking for the best ways to improve for its patients.