Federal Audit Finds Oregon VA Wait Times Among Worst in Nation

A recent federal audit found that the Department of Veterans Affairs facilities in Oregon have some of the longest wait times in the nation. At the Portland facility, a new patient must wait an average of 80 days to see a primary care physician—the fifth longest wait of the 731 hospitals and outpatient clinics audited. For new patients, average wait times for mental health appointments ranged from 30 to 60 days.

Overall, auditors found that nine facilities in the Northwest, including Portland, Roseburg, and Vancouver, require further review. If auditors find any misconduct by the VA, it will lead to “appropriate personnel actions.”

Oregon U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D) and Ron Wyden (D) issued a joint statement condemning the report’s findings and calling for improved leadership to immediately address the problems in Oregon’s VA system.

The Portland VA intends to hire more staff, including 19 physicians, to reduce wait times, according to its spokesman Dan Herringstad. In addition, the VA will open a new expanded clinic in Salem, which currently staffs only five full-time primary care physicians and one part time.