Increasing CWL’s Time Frame to 120 Days Leads to Immediate and Expected Impact

Increasing CWL’s Time Frame to 120 Days Leads to Immediate and Expected Impact

One of the things that happened after the Department of Veterans Affairs asked its hospitals to increase the waiting time to 120 days before putting veterans on the Electronic Wait List (EWL) was the computer system looked much improved.

The waiting list dropped from 4,981 veterans to 1,800 at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, stated Haley officials. Condition remained similar at other centers as well. At the C. W. Bill Young VA Medical Center in Seminole, the number dropped from 1,408 in December 2010 to 269 in April 2012. In May, the EWL was at 103.

The EWL was designed as the agency did not have any measure by which they can know how long patients have waited for new appointment. Initially, the authorities concerned asked to put patients with chronic medical disabilities linked with military services on the list after they had waited for more than 30 days for an appointment.

This way, veterans could be known who needed faster medical care. This way, new VA patients, whether or not having service-connected disability, were found to be on the waiting list after 30 days.

But by around 2010, the VA asked its hospital to increase the time limit to 120 days. This announcement led to cutting of thousands of veterans across the nation from the list. Now, the time frame is 90 days.

Some critics were of the view that the measure was an intentional attempt by VA leaders to make hospital performance look much better. "This looks to me like just one more of the VA's gaming strategies that have been identified in the last year", said Anthony Hardie, from the board of directors of Veterans for Common Sense, a nonprofit advocacy group.

VA officials clarified that they increased the time on the EWL to provide clarity to the lists used by VA facilities across the nation.


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