August 17, 2015

Kaine Visits Hampton Va Medical Center For Progress Update On Wait Times

WASHINGTON, D.C.  - Kicking off his five-day swing through Virginia today in Hampton Roads, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, visited the Hampton VA Medical Center to tour the facilities and receive a progress update on efforts to reduce wait times for veterans seeking care. Kaine met with the medical center's leadership team to discuss health care access, improvements to the Veterans Choice Program and the use of private outside providers to improve wait times for medical care. 

"Partly because of the size of the veterans' population in the area, the Hampton VA a year ago was the slowest in the nation in terms of primary care appointments. We've seen that number come down very dramatically," Kaine said. "That is an improvement and it is an improvement at a time when the number of patients being seen is going up faster here than at most VA medical centers. When you can bring the waiting times down and you're serving more people – that is a positive step." 

The Hampton VA Medical Center has worked hard to reduce wait times for veterans. Today, wait times at the Hampton VA Medical Center are closer to the national average of six to seven days for primary care appointments. Last month, a VA Tiger Team visit determined that the actions taken by the Hampton VA Medical Center are having a positive effect of improving the timely availability of primary care services. 

"There are still some significant challenges that the team here is working on, but there are also some things that we in Washington need to work on," Kaine said. "I heard a lot from the leadership team here today that will help me go back and advocate for more reforms that will do a better job of dealing with access issues."

Additionally, Kaine urged the medical center's leadership team to work with local veterans who are confused about their health care options under the the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, a bill Congress passed last year that aimed to reduce wait times at the VA and improve veterans’ access to health care. Kaine was an original co-sponsor of the legislation.

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