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Having access to proper medical care is an important part of helping people heal from their injuries or illnesses. For military veterans in North Adams, there are several Department of Veterans Affairs facilities that provide services. Across the country, government officials have been running audits to determine if there is medical negligence in these hospitals concerning access to care.

VA officials note they are making progress nationwide when it comes to the number of claims that remain unprocessed. Last year, that number was at 611,000 but is now at 287,000. In the VA Boston office, more than 55 percent of claims have fallen into backlog, meaning they have not been processed for more than 125 days.

Additionally, patients are facing significant wait times to get an appointment. In Massachusetts, there are nearly 600 veterans who have been on the wait list for an appointment for more than 90 days. Nationally, that number is at more than 56,000. The VA has a goal of scheduling a visit in 14 days or less. In some Massachusetts’ facilities, the average wait times for new patients have been as low as 16 days and as high as 68. Established patients, however, can get in as quickly as one day.

While the numbers in Massachusetts may not be perfect, they reportedly are averaging better than what is happening across the country. Facilities that provide medical care are supposed to meet certain conditions. If those reasonable standards of care are not met, people who are adversely affected should consult with an attorney to determine the appropriate course of legal action.

Source: Wicked Local Lexington, “Mass. VA hospitals in good shape,” Gerry Tuoti, June 26, 2014