The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on veterans’ access to mental health care.The hearing examined the results of a report released on Tuesday by the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General, which concludes that about half of veterans seeking mental health care do not receive it as quickly as the VA claimed.
Testifying on behalf of the Veterans Affairs Department was the VA deputy undersecretary for health, operations and management as well as the assistant inspector general for healthcare inspections. Other witnesses included former Iraq war veteran Nick Tolentino and retired U.S. Marine Major General Thomas Jones. Sen. Patty Murray of Washington chaired this Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing.
The VA said that 95 percent of veterans receive an evaluation within 14 days of requesting one, but the report shows that the number is closer to half. It also shows that patients wait longer after their initial evaluation to receive treatment than the VA has reported.
Additionally, the investigation found issues with the way the the VA calculates patient wait times for appointments.