David Olinger --- The Denver Post
Patients at Denver's Veterans Affairs hospital and its satellite clinics wait longer for medical appointments than those at more than 90 percent of regional centers nationwide, new federal data show.
The data show that 13.7 percent of veterans seeking medical help in Denver and at clinics in eastern Colorado waited for a month or more after their preferred date to see a doctor.
That was more than twice the national average of 6.7 percent.
Just seven of about 140 VA medical centers, six in Southeastern states, had higher wait-time percentages than Denver. The longest waits occurred at Fayetteville, N.C., near Fort Bragg, where 21 percent of veterans waited at least a month. By contrast, some VA offices get 99 percent of veterans into a doctor's office in less than 30 days.
The Colorado backlog is highest at VA clinics in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, where more than 20 percent of veterans are waiting at least a month.
The rate for the Denver medical center was just under 11 percent. Other cities with clinics in the VA region referred to as eastern Colorado include Alamosa, La Junta, Lamar and Burlington.
In western Colorado, served by the VA hospital in Grand Junction and clinics in Montrose and Craig, 4.25 percent of veterans had to wait a month or longer.