Lawmakers want audit of wait times for veterans

Tuesday - 12/6/2011, 2:10pm EST

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal lawmakers are calling for an inspector general's investigation into how long it takes for veterans to get treatment for mental health disorders after they return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recent hearings before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee have featured witnesses who testified that veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder often have to wait longer than 14 days before getting an initial appointment, and that follow-up visits can take much longer.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has greatly increased the resources going into mental health care, but the large number of troops returning from the war continues to stress the system.

Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said Tuesday congressional hearings have shown that even veterans who attempted suicide had appointments postponed.

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