VA reports decrease in number of appointments at Fargo VAMC health facility in Grafton in August


The Fargo VA Medical Center, subsidiary 437GA in Grafton, North Dakota scheduled 225 pending appointments in August compared to 246 the previous month, according to data collected from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs.

Of the total number of appointments, 221 had a wait time of 30 days or less (98.2%) and four appointments (1.8%) were scheduled more than 30 days out.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January 2019 reported that wait times for new appointments at VA health care facilities were similar to or better than wait times at private-sector providers between 2014 and 2017.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), however, released a report in July 2019 that cautioned that the VA's data-tracking system only captures part of the appointment process and fails to account for the time that it takes the VA to enroll veterans in its health benefits program.

At a hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee after the report was released, Debra Draper, health care director at the GAO, said new patients may actually wait up to 70 days for an appointment when they first enroll for benefits.

The VA explains on its website that when veterans apply for benefits, they are assigned to one of eight priority groups, with those who need immediate care due to service-related disabilities placed in higher priority groups. Veterans who don’t have service-connected disabilities and who earn a higher income are placed in the lower priority groups.

Fargo VA Medical Center Appointments Scheduled in August vs. July

Facility Code
Location
Total Appointments Scheduled in August
Total Appointments Scheduled in July
Percent change in number of appointments
437
Fargo, ND
26,825
27,341
-1.9%
437GA
Grafton, ND
225
246
-8.5%
437GB
Bismarck, ND
1,992
2,052
-2.9%
437GC
Fergus Falls, MN
693
664
4.4%
437GD
Minot, ND
1,149
1,167
-1.5%
437GE
Bemidji, MN
1,572
1,760
-10.7%
437GF
Williston, ND
212
194
9.3%
437GI
Grand Forks, ND
986
1,065
-7.4%
437GJ
Dickinson, ND
382
388
-1.5%
437GK
Jamestown, ND
519
494
5.1%
437GL
Devils Lake, ND
171
169
1.2%

Source: U.S. Veteran's Administration

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