In a Facebook post on Friday, Georgia 5th Congressional District Republican candidate Christian Zimm criticized the quality of healthcare veterans receive in the metro Atlanta area.
“Veterans in Atlanta are receiving some of the worst care in the country! This is awful, and must be addressed immediately. Our veterans deserve better!” Georgia 5th Congressional District Candidate Christian Zimm said.
Zimm, who is the GA-05 GOP nominee in November, used the Atlanta Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center as a case study for why VA healthcare should be improved.
He told The Georgia Star News on Friday veterans “are waiting too long for services there.”
“That hospital, in particular, has a reputation for being slow, having low quality of care, and inefficient. Our VA hospitals throughout the country need more federal assistance and funding, but the problems with them run much deeper than that,” Zimm said.
The Atlanta VA Medical Center, which is actually located in Decatur, ranked 42nd out of 51 Georgia medical centers in Georgia that were asked in a study to rate their hospital on a scale of zero to 10. The data was then ranked according to the number of patients rated either a nine or a 10.
The Atlanta VA Medical Center’s patient rating score of 60 is 10 points lower than the national average.
“In the medical community, physicians do not want to work for the VA Hospitals due to the pay, benefits, work conditions, and more. The VA Hospital is not attracting our best in the medical community and are often left with those desperate for a job,” Zimm said. “I value and thank anyone who wants to work for our veterans, but that is the general reputation in the medical community.”
The average wait time or third next available appointment time (TNAA) at the Atlanta VA Medical Center for a primary care visit is 55 days. This number exceeds the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) national average wait time of 15 days by a factor greater than three.
“We need to incentivize the best new talent to join the VA Hospital system right now out of medical school. Not only that, but the leadership in our government is so disconnected from these hospitals that they don’t know the issues and have not been able to address them, which is why they persisted for so long,” Zimm said.
The average wait time at the Atlanta VA for a physical therapy (PT) appointment is 75 days, which is longer than the average wait time of 49 days at Trinka Davis Veterans Village in Carrollton and Pike County VA Clinic in Zebulon.
“There are so many issues with the VA that it is difficult to quantify all of them, and we need to do everything we can to improve our healthcare for those who have sacrificed so much for us,” Zimm said.
“But these issues have been going on for years, and it is yet another example of why government-run healthcare is a terrible idea for America,” he added.
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