OHIO — The wait times for appointments for veterans in the Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs medical system have increased to more than three months and are at the highest level since the beginning of the crisis, officials say.
The wait for appointments was more than 2,400 days from the time the crisis started in August 2015, according to a report released Monday by the Ohio VA Office of Inspector General.
The VA has also had a backlog of more than 1.3 million appointments, more than double the 1.2 million average in the previous three years.
“We know that we have a very complex system and there’s a lot of moving parts, and we’re going to continue to do everything we can to fix it,” said VA Secretary Jeff Sessions in a statement.
“I urge all Ohioans to keep their eyes open and to contact their local VA to find out what they can do to improve the VA.”
The report is the latest indication of the growing backlog of veterans waiting for appointments in the Veterans Affairs system.
A VA official who was not authorized to speak publicly said in April that the backlog has tripled since the crisis began.
The report said there are 3,600 veterans waiting on appointments.
The backlog was the highest since the VA started keeping records in January.
The Ohio VA said it plans to continue increasing its capacity to meet the needs of veterans and will provide the VA with data on its staffing and wait times in coming weeks.
It said it is “looking into other steps” to increase capacity.
The agency is in the midst of hiring additional workers, but there are no details about what that may mean.
The new report was released as a public information act, and it did not disclose the names of any veterans who have been waiting for more than 30 days.
It also did not say whether veterans who are eligible for the VA Choice program have been unable to receive the care they need.
The veterans who can receive VA Choice benefits are eligible to have appointments with the VA for 90 days and then have to wait another 30 days before their care can be moved to the VA’s Choice program, which is a separate program.