Texas VA hospitals among longest average wait times for new patients

AUSTIN (AP) — Four medical centers serving veterans in Texas have some of the nation’s worst wait times for new patients.

A federal report released Monday shows that Texas’ eight Veterans Affairs Department medical centers scheduled at least 92 percent of their patients for appointments within 30 days. However, facilities in Harlingen, El Paso, Dallas and Amarillo rank among the longest waits for new patients.

The Texas Valley Coastal Bend facility in Harlingen averaged a 145-day wait for new patients seeking specialist care, the nation’s worst backlog. The next longest is El Paso’s medical center at 90 days.

Harlingen also ranked second worst for new patients seeking primary care, at 85 days.

The centers in Amarillo, El Paso and Dallas ranked in the top 10 for new patients seeking mental health care.

Here is a list of the facilities with the longest average waits as of May 15 for new patients seeking primary care, specialist care and mental health care, according to audit results released Monday:

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NEW PATIENT PRIMARY CARE LONGEST AVERAGE WAIT TIME:

1. Honolulu, Hawaii: 145 days

2. VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend HCS, Harlingen, Texas: 85 days

3. Fayetteville, North Carolina: 83 days

4. Baltimore HCS, Maryland: 81 days

5. Portland, Oregon: 80 days

6. Columbia, South Carolina: 77 days

7. Central Alabama Veterans HCS, Montgomery, Alabama: 75 days

8. Providence, Rhode Island: 74 days

9. Salt Lake City, Utah: 73 days

10. Richmond, Virginia: 73 days

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NEW PATIENT SPECIALIST CARE AVERAGE WAIT TIME:

1. VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend HCS, Harlingen, Texas: 145 days

2. El Paso, Texas: 90 days

3. White City, Oregon: 88 days

4. Clarksburg, West Virginia: 86 days

5. St. Louis, Missouri: 86 days

6. Middle Tennessee HCS, Nashville, Tennessee: 71 days

7. Durham, North Carolina: 69 days

8. Hampton, Virginia: 68 days

9. Mountain Home, Tennessee: 67 days

10. VA Central Western Massachusetts HCS, Leeds, Massachusetts: 67 days

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NEW PATIENT MENTAL HEALTH CARE AVERAGE WAIT TIME:

1. Durham, North Carolina: 104 days

2. Clarksburg, West Virginia: 96 days

3. Amarillo, Texas: 61 days

4. El Paso, Texas: 60 days

5. Erie, Pennsylvania: 57 days

6. Central Alabama Veterans HCS, Montgomery, Alabama: 57 days

7. White City, Oregon: 57 days

8. VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend HCS, Harlingen, Texas: 55 days

9. Hampton, Virginia: 54 days

10. Dallas, Texas: 50 days

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