Washington, D.C.– Rep. Grijalva released the following statement after the VA Office of Inspector General conducted a healthcare inspection at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System in Tucson.
Upon 2016 reports by VA patients and former employees, Rep. Grijalva requested an audit of the SAVAHCS regarding complaints of staff shortages, long wait times for primary care visits and improper use of medical equipment.
“I am pleased the VA Office of Inspector General investigated these allegations and that a thorough inspection has found that SAVAHCS has taken the necessary steps to maintain a high quality VA as well as ensure proper staffing levels. I commend the commitment the VA in Southern Arizona has made to our veterans in making quality of service a priority and for immediately implementing policies to ensure better scheduling practices, appropriate staffing levels and handling of equipment. The fact that nearly 80 percent of the veterans offered appointments through the Choice Program chose to wait for an appointment at the VA, shows they trust and prefer the specialized care that only the VA can provide.
“Provider and nursing vacancies are at their lowest levels since 2014, turnover rates have decreased and incentives for hard-to-staff areas are working; all which is good news for the veterans in Tucson and surrounding areas. I am also pleased that the SAVAHCS leadership team took and continues to take urgent action to address a complex scheduling system that was delaying access to primary care appointments
“While SAVAHCS is making improvements, it is clear that the VA and Congress need to ensure resources are provided to appropriately handle the care of our veterans; especially in areas like Southern Arizona that receive more demand from veterans with addresses outside the catchment area during the winter months.”
The full report can be found here.