Study: Average wait times at Washington VA facilities 28+ days

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- New data shows that wait times for new patients seeking a primary care doctor at Washington state's three largest Veteran's Affairs facilities range from 28 to nearly 59 days.

The numbers were released Monday by the Department of Veterans Affairs as part of a national audit. The report says the longest average wait time was tied to VA Puget Sound, at 58.77 days. Wait times for new patients seeking a primary care doctor in Walla Walla was 43.15 days, and 28.55 days for new patients in Spokane.

VA guidelines, since abandoned, said veterans should be seen within 14 days of their desired date for a primary care appointment. The department has since said meeting that target was unattainable given existing resources and growing demand.

Nationally, more than 57,000 patients are still waiting for initial medical appointments after 90 days, and an additional 64,000 who enrolled in the VA health care system in the last decade have never been seen.