WASHINGTON — Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Armed Services Committees, released the following statement on data revealed June 9 showing Honolulu’s Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical Center has the longest average wait time – 145 days – in the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) system when it comes to new patient primary care appointments.

This information came to light as part of a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) audit of the VA.

“These long wait times for new patients at Honolulu’s Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical Center are extremely troubling,” Hirono said. “The medical center faces challenges involving neighbor island transportation and access, but these should not be excuses. Prior to this data release, my office reached out to the VA Inspector General’s Office asking for an impartial review and verification of wait time data for Hawaii-based VA medical clinics and centers.

“The audit released by VA today makes clear that we need to get to bottom of what is going on in the VA system in order to enable us to take appropriate action. I will also introduce bipartisan legislation this week to provide immediate relief for waiting veterans who require emergency procedures.”

Download Hirono’s letter to the VA here: www.hirono.senate.gov/download/letter-to-va-ig.

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