ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s a staggering numbernearly 1,400 patients were never seen at the St. Louis VA medical center.

The audit of 731 VA hospitals and clinics found that nationwide, more than 57,000 patients are still waiting for an appointment, 90-plus days after trying to make one.

Over the last decade, 64,000 went without, including those 1,400 in St. Louisthe 12th worst showing nationally.

So, what’s the problem?

“Inadequate training, unclear staffing needs and allocation priorities, inadequate oversight, and the use of unreliable data for monitoring,” says Debra Draper, health director at the Government Accountability Office.

Sen. Claire McCaskill calls it unacceptable. Sen. Roy Blunt says vets deserve better.

And if you call up the St. Louis VA and try to make an appointment, how long should you expect to wait?

The audit found an 86-day wait at the St. Louis centerthe 6th worst in the nation.

Columbia had a wait of 66 days (the 12th worst) and Kansas City had a wait of 44 days (21st worst).

If you’re a current patient trying to get in for mental health treatment, you’ll find St. Louis has the 14th worst wait.

Tom Tarantino with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America says the information is infuriating.

“We’re talking over 70 percent of VA hospitals were found manipulating appointment wait time in some way, shape or form,” he says.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)



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