Congressman Beto O'Rourke

Representing the 16th District of Texas

El Paso Veterans Survey Results

Jun 4, 2014

I recently sent an email to all veterans in our database, asking them to participate in a survey to determine the quality and access to care for primary and mental health at the El Paso VA.

Hundreds took the time to respond, and from their responses we’ve compiled a report with important information about access to care for El Paso veterans, including the significant discrepancy between what the VA is telling me and what you are telling me.

For example, for each month between March 2013 and March 2014, the El Paso VHA has reported to me that between 85% and 100% of veterans new to the system seeking mental health appointments saw a provider within 14 days of their appointment request. Our survey shows that on average it takes a veteran 71 days to see a mental health provider and more than 36% of veterans attempting to make an appointment were unable to see a mental health provider at all. 

For those who do get an appointment, these sessions are routinely cancelled before they can take place. The survey also found that wait times for primary health were unacceptably long, with over 71.8% reporting that they could not schedule a primary care visit within 14 days of their request. 

The recent scandal in Phoenix, where administrators kept secret wait lists and denied care to those they were entrusted to help, proves that we cannot depend on the VA to hold itself accountable. The best way to determine how the VA is doing is to ask the veterans themselves. In doing just that, this report can provide the basis for real accountability and improved service at the El Paso VHA clinic and perhaps serve as the model for allowing our country’s veterans to do the same for the national VA system.

Below are our full findings and steps we will take based on what we’ve learned.

For the full report, click here:

Thank you for your service in uniform and your service today on behalf of your fellow veteran. It is an honor to serve you.