VA audit shows long wait times in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A nationwide look at the VA network has found that the Providence VA Medical Center has one of the longest average wait times for patients seeking their first primary care appointment.

Audit results released Monday show the average wait time for a primary care appointment for new patients at the Providence VA was about 74 days. Only seven facilities nationwide had longer average waits.

The Providence VA Medical Center includes an outpatient clinic in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

Leslie Pierson, spokeswoman for the Providence VA, said the average wait time is high because there was "a sharp increase in new patients seeking care" at the Hyannis clinic and some of the staff there retired. She said the VA is adding a primary care team in Hyannis and Providence.

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