No New VA Patient Scheduling System Until 2016

The Department of Veterans Affairs in Phoenix

The Department of Veterans Affairs in Phoenix Matt York/AP

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson says the timeline is still a “bit up in the air.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs will not field a new patient scheduling system to replace its existing system until 2016, Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson told a House VA committee hearing today.

Gibson said the time line for procurement of the new scheduling system is a “bit up in the air” as VA works out its planned procurement strategy. The current system was fielded in 2002. 

Ryan Gallucci, the deputy legislative director for the national veterans service at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said in his testimony the outdated appointment scheduling and tracking technology is “central” to the current patient wait time crisis. 

He said: “VA’s appointment-scheduling software has not changed much over the years -- except for the occasional patches and workarounds designed to gather new information. Moreover, VA’s systems that track incoming patients and specialty consults are only loosely linked to the scheduling system, meaning VA scheduling is rife with inaccuracies, allowing patients to easily slip through the cracks.

“VA has asked repeatedly for a new scheduling system, but IT funding shortfalls have made it nearly impossible to take the major steps of replacing a systemwide software platform."