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57,000 Vets Waiting For Appointments, New Vets Infuriated

Washington DC (June 9, 2014) – According to a new Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) audit released today, more than 57,000 patients across the country have been waiting almost three months for appointments at VA hospitals and clinics. The audit was released ahead of IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff’s meeting with other leading veterans groups and Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson at the VA.

“This audit is absolutely infuriating, and underscores the depth of this scandal,” said Rieckhoff. “Our vets demand action and answers. IAVA again calls on the President to be out-front in reforming the VA and we also encourage members of Congress and the Administration to implement IAVA’s eight-step plan. We would welcome a meeting with the President – the veteran community must hear more from him and be assured that he cares. I look forward to hearing answers from Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson this afternoon.”

The audit found that:

• Practices of manipulating wait times were so pervasive, the audit recommended a complete overhaul of VHA’s performance management system.

• 13 percent of schedulers – and 76 percent of facilities – reported some improper scheduling practices.

• 8 percent of schedulers – and 70 percent of facilities – used an alternative to the appropriate waiting lists.

Last Monday Rieckhoff, joined by IAVA veterans from across the country, unveiled eight steps the Obama Administration and Congress can take now to restore confidence in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Among the steps are recommendations from IAVA’s 2014 Policy Agenda. IAVA urged Congress and the President to enact all of the recommendations from the plan.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.