Denver, eastern Colorado VA hospital and clinics rate below national average on wait times

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DENVER — The Denver veterans hospital and its satellite clinics rate below the national average on wait times for doctor appointments, according to statistics from the Veterans Affairs Department.

The Denver Post reported Thursday (http://tinyurl.com/mr7b7vd) that 13.7 percent of veterans seeking medical care in the VA's eastern Colorado region had to wait a month or more after their preferred date to see a doctor.

The national average was nearly 6.7 percent.

Clinics in Colorado Springs and Pueblo had the highest rates of long waits in the eastern Colorado region, with more than 20 percent of veterans waiting at least a month.

Denver VA hospital Director Lynette Roff said the long waits in Colorado Springs and Pueblo were caused by staff shortages. She said replacements are being hired.

Both cities have large populations of veterans.

Roff also cited strong competition for hiring doctors and other health care personnel.

The VA said this week that Roff is retiring. The announcement came days after KUSA-TV reported that a sleep clinic in Roff's region had a secret appointment list that could have been used to hide long wait times.

The VA has denied a secret list existed. The agency said it discovered in 2012 that the sleep lab had an "unofficial list" that was immediately transferred to the official, computerized list.

It wasn't clear whether the sleep clinic was keeping two lists, or whether the unofficial list was the only one.

Officials have said they can't comment further because an investigation of the allegations is underway.

The VA has said Roff's retirement was unrelated to delays in appointments or the reports about the sleep clinic list.


Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com

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