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Official: Things improving at Phoenix VA, but no ‘mission accomplished’ banner yet

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX — Wait times are going down and veterans are receiving more timely care at the Phoenix VA, according to the deputy secretary for Veterans Affairs.

Sloan Gibson was in Phoenix to meet with local congressional leaders as well as staff at the city’s medical center on Thursday. He said more patients are coming to the VA for care, and more appointments are being completed in a quicker span.

“If you look back a couple of years ago, appointments being completed within 30 days was running around 81 percent,” Gibson said. “[Now] the number of appointments being completed within 30 days [is] running around 95 percent.”

Full-time staff has increased at the Phoenix VA medical center as well.

“Net staffing at the Phoenix VA medical center has grown 25 percent in the last two years,” Gibson said.

That amounts to 758 new full-time staff members, although Gibson said the goal is to reach 800.

He said there are still improvements that can be made.

“I don’t want anybody to think that we’re hanging up a ‘mission accomplished’ banner,” Gibson said. “We’ve got a lot of work left to do.”

Gibson said they continue to ask veterans for their feedback on improvements that can still be made.

Gibson said he will return to Phoenix several times over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition as Director Deborah Amdur retires and Barbara Fallen steps in on an interim basis.

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