Battle Creek VA Hospital cleared of wrongdoing after investigation

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A spotlight has been on Veterans Administration hospitals for the past two years since a scandal about wait times was exposed at the VA Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. Officials promised to decrease wait times and conduct more investigations. That's happening in West Michigan with an investigation at the Battle Creek VA.

The Veterans Administration has an anonymous hotline where anyone can file a claim to be investigated. This time, the caller alleged that wait times for homeless veterans were exaggerated---but a new report says wait times are normal in Battle Creek.

The investigation was conducted by the Office of the Inspector General of the Veterans Administration.

The complaint said homeless veterans were facing extended wait times for appointments. The tip also claimed that VA workers were using a scheduling method that gave the appearance veterans were seen more quickly than they actually were.

After interviewing eight employees, the Inspector General's office found no wrongdoing.

The Public Information Officer for the Battle Creek Veteran's Administration says the hospital welcomes investigations like this one to make sure they're following protocol.

"Our wait times on average are under four days for primary care and mental health and under 7 days for specialty care here in Battle Creek and we continue to work to improve that even more," says Brian Pegouske, Public Affairs Officer for the Battle Creek Veterans' Administration. "Last year, we added 47 new positions to help improve access. Some of them are providers; some of them are clerks and other staff to help improve that access."

If you have a complaint, you can contact the VA Inspector General's Office at 1 (800) 488-8244

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