How does Houston's VA Center measure up?

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - By now you've already seen the faces and heard the horror stories of brave, American veterans like George Barraza of Houston.

Vets who served this country by risking their lives, but who were not served promptly or adequately by the massive, VA healthcare system.

At the VA in Phoenix, Arizona officials are under investigation by The Justice Department right now for falsifying appointment dates to hide the fact that veterans were waiting 6 months and more  for medical treatment they desperately needed.

"Those wait times are horrendous, I mean terrible, veterans deserve better", says Texas State Senator Leticia Van De Putte.

Now, brand new data analyzed by the Associated Press and provided to Local Two Investigates, show just how Houston's VA Hospital stacks up to the rest of the country.

Out of 118,000 appointments made at the Michael Debakey VA Medical Center in Houston, only one percent, or 1463 appointments were delayed longer than 30 days.

In Dallas, the number is more than 4 times that figure.

In Dallas, almost 7000 appointments were scheduled for veterans in need of help more than 30 days out. That's 7% of all appointments made for veterans in that city.

In Phoenix, ground zero in this scandal, 13 percent or 6712 appointments were set up with vets more than 30 days away.

Houston area congress women Sheila Jackson Lee wants a speedy and accurate investigation, reminding regulators in Washington, that Texas has the largest population of vets in the United States.

"No one can suffer the sadness that we've suffered over the last couple of weeks", she says.

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