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Wait times for some SC vets average 77 days

COLUMBIA (AP) — Patients seeking care through the Dorn Veterans Administration Medical Center in Columbia are waiting an average of 77 days for their first appointment with a primary care doctor — more than five times longer than the department’s goal.

A report from the Department of Veterans Affairs released Monday says the average wait time for new patients at South Carolina’s other VA hospital in Charleston averaged about 45 days.

The department says an audit of 731 VA hospitals and large outpatient clinics found the agency’s complicated appointment process created confusion among scheduling clerks and supervisors.

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

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