VA Director Talks Lengthy Wait Times

  •  Marisa Demarco
  •  Friday, April 10, 2015

The Associated Press looked at data from medical facilities for veterans around the U.S. and reported that four in New Mexico were among the worst when it comes to long waits for appointments.

Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM

New Mexico’s VA Health Care Director Andrew Welch
Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Veterans using VA clinics in Farmington, Santa Fe and Rio Rancho, and the hospital in Albuquerque, might be waiting a long time for health care. Those facilities were near the top of the AP’s list, with Farmington coming in No. 6—out of 940.

New Mexico’s VA Health Care System Director Andrew Welch said the issue isn’t money, and in fact, millions have come to the state in recent months. “Some of the money was spent to start the process of hiring more providers where we had some gaps,” he said. “As you know, when we get those providers it takes a while to get them up to speed.”

Welch says the VA will add a physician in Rio Rancho and might add another in Farmington, where today there are two.

Veterans with appointments scheduled out 30 days or more in the future can call a new hotline at 505-222-3351, and the VA will work to provide assistance and options.

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