NEW YORK (AP) – A $10 billion program that was supposed to get patients off waiting lists at Veterans Affairs medical centers is proving to be a disappointment.
Congress created the Veteran’s Choice program last summer with the expectation that it would offer instant relief to wait-listed patients by paying for them to see private-sector doctors.
But a hurried rollout has led to confusion about who can use the program.
VA officials now say that through April 11, only 37,648 medical appointments had been completed through the Choice program, which launched Nov. 5. That’s a tiny fraction of eligible patients.
VA officials say they are studying the problem.
Two contractors overseeing the program for the VA say one issue is that the program was created so fast, there wasn’t enough time for proper training.