The Veterans Affairs Department says more than 8,500 new patients are still waiting for initial medical appointments at six VA hospitals and clinics throughout Florida 90 days or more after requesting them.
The audit released Monday says the longest wait list at the Gainesville facility. Additionally, more than 5,000 who enrolled in the VA health care system over the past 10 years have never had appointments.
The audit of 731 VA hospitals and outpatient clinics nationally found that a complicated appointment process created confusion among scheduling clerks. The audit says a 14-day goal for seeing first-time patients was unattainable given the growing demand among veterans for health care and poor planning. The VA later abandoned that goal.
Florida officials have filed a lawsuit seeking access to facilities to investigate allegations.