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Decatur VA still struggles with on-time performance | News

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Decatur VA still struggles with on-time performance
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DECATUR, GA (WXIA) -- A national analysis shows no improvement over the last year at VA hospitals on average across the country. And that holds true at the VA's hospital in Decatur, according to hospital officials.

"It's mass confusion out there, and it's not getting any better," said Mark McKeller, a US Navy veteran who describes himself as a very frustrated patron of the Atlanta VA. His biggest complaint is service that is very unpredictable.

"You feel like sometimes they're not there to help you. You feel like you're just not getting the help that you need. And then sometimes you do," McKeller said.

The Atlanta VA has struggled for years with its capacity and its wait times. The hospital's chief of staff, Dr. David Bower, says it has grown at twice the national average, adding nearly 70,000 new appointments so far this year. Bower says this means the hospital's ability to keep on time appointments remains problematic.

"We would like to meet everybody's needs within the thirty day time frame," Bower said. "But one of the challenges here is that we're growing."

Dr. Bower says the bottom line is that the hospital has more patients than it has staff to see them on a timely basis . He says the hospital is constantly trying to expand its medical staff to deal with the higher patient demand.


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