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Comparison of Wait Times for New Patients Between the Private Sector and United States Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers

Original Investigation 
Health Policy

January 18, 2019. Click here to see the full article

JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(1):e187096. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.7096 

Key Points

Question  How do wait times for outpatient appointments compare between United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and private sector hospitals?

Findings  In this repeated cross-sectional study of wait time data from VA facilities and private sector hospitals in primary care, dermatology, cardiology, and orthopedics from 15 major metropolitan areas, there was no statistically significant difference between private sector and VA mean wait times in 2014. In 2017, mean wait times were statistically significantly shorter for the VA compared with the private sector facilities as wait times from 2014 to 2017 improved in the VA facilities while wait times in the private sector remained unchanged.

Meaning  Access to care within VA facilities appears to have improved between 2014 and 2017 and appears to have surpassed access in the private sector for 3 of the 4 specialties evaluated.

Read more here

About the Author(s)

Madeline Penn, BS, BA1; Saurabha Bhatnagar, MD2; SreyRam Kuy, MD, MHS3,4; et al


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