Deputy VA secretary visits Denver, announces effort to improve veterans' access to care

DENVER - Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson visited the Denver VA Medical Center Wednesday.



VA Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson on Wednesday announced additional actions to improve Veterans’ access to care at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System (HCS).

"No Veteran should have to wait for the care and services that they have earned and deserve," said VA Deputy Secretary Gibson. "The audit and the data we just released this week showed the extent of the problems we face here in Denver and across the country. We are fully committed to fixing these problems and must restore the public’s trust in VA. More importantly, we must restore the trust of our Veterans who depend on us for care."

In addition to the system-wide actions taken in response to the audit findings, Gibson outlined actions taken to accelerate access to care for Veterans seeking care at the VA Eastern Colorado HCS:

  • Reaching out to all Veterans waiting for care to get them off of wait lists and into clinics for medical appointments – as of July 23, VA Eastern Colorado HCS has reached 940 Veterans.
  • The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is ensuring that $12.6 million from within VA’s budget specifically be made available to the VA Eastern Colorado HCS to accelerate access to care.
  • VA Deputy Secretary Gibson directed that the VA Eastern Colorado HCS use temporary staffing measures, along with clinical and administrative support, to ensure these Veterans receive the care they have earned through their service. 
  • The VA Eastern Colorado HCS has maximized time providers are in direct patient care and has expanded primary care, mental health and other specialty care hours.
  • At the direction of VA Deputy Secretary Gibson, VA Eastern Colorado HCS is increasing the use of established national contracts with community partners to schedule Veterans waiting to be seen by a provider.

On Tuesday evening, Gibson spoke to a convention of the Military Order of the Purple Heart in Denver. He warned that more VA employees will be disciplined as the department sorts out a scandal over long waits for health care and falsified data.

The VA announced last week that it planned to fire two supervisors and discipline four other employees in Colorado and Wyoming accused of falsifying health-care data.

The department has also said it plans to fire three executives of the Phoenix VA hospital.

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