Audit: 1,000-plus NM vets await initial visits

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Veterans Affairs Department says more than 1,000 patients in its health care system in New Mexico are still waiting for initial medical appointments 90 days or more after requesting them.

The department on Monday released the findings of an audit of VA hospitals and clinics across the country, including Albuquerque's medical center where officials previously said more than 3,000 patients were assigned to a doctor who didn't actually see them.

The audit says new patients seeking primary care wait an average of 46 days, while those needing specialty care wait nearly two months.

New Mexico's congressional delegation asked for an independent investigation following allegations of manipulated wait times and delayed care for thousands of veterans.

Auditors say New Mexico is among the facilities that require further review.

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