VA Part 2: Hines Hospital Fails 21 of 45 Performance Categories

  • Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a series on Hines VA Hospital’s response to inquiries from the Kane County Veterans Assistance Office regarding quality of care for local veterans. Click here to read Part 1 of the series.


Screen shot from Hines VA website,

Screen shot from Hines VA website,

As reported in an earlier article on Kane County Connects, Kane County Veterans Assistance Superintendent Jacob Zimmerman sent the letter and Freedom of Information Act request on April 25 to Hines VA Hospital requesting information on wait times for veterans under the hospital’s care.

Of Kane County’s 25,274 veterans, 4,289 were enrolled in the Veterans Administration health care system. And of those 4,289 veterans, most are served by Hines.

That’s why Zimmerman wanted to know as much as possible about the service at Hines and why he wants to make it clear that Kane County veterans have an advocate if they have any concerns about the service there. Zimmerman said he will personally follow up on any complaints brought to his attention.

“We are the veterans’ advocate,” he said. “If they’re having any issues, give us a call, and we’ll fight on their behalf.”

What the FOIA documents reveal is that Hines is not meeting its own performance targets in 21 of 45 categories.

And those targets aren’t setting the bar too high.

Hines’ performance target is to have 47 percent of its primary-care patients seen by doctors within 14 days of the appointments’ scheduling. The specialty-care performance target is to have 43 percent of patients obtain an appointment within 14 days.

According to the March data received in the FOIA request, 187 primary-care patients out of 456 were seen within that 14-day limit. The average wait time was 20 days.

Some of the bad news from other categories:

  • Just 17 percent of urology patients (26 of 149) were seen within 14 days.
  • The average wait time for a neurology appointment was 43 days.
  • Just one of 26 gastroenterology patients — 3.85 percent —was seen within that 14-day window.

Zimmerman repeated that he hopes any Kane County veteran with a concern will call his office.

“When I take it to the assistant director (of the Inspector General’s Office), things happen,” he said. “We’re keeping track and making sure what we receive from VA is accurate.”

The phone number of the Kane County Veterans Assistance Commission is 630-232-3550. Zimmerman’s email is Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Hines VA Hospital Primary Care Performance

(Target is 47 percent or higher. Categories that missed target are printed in red.)

  • Comprehensive Women’s Primary Care — 78% (7 in less than 14 days, 9 completed)
  • Primary Care Medicine — 41% (187/456; Average wait time was 20 days.)
  • Geriatric Primary Care — 50% (6/12)


Specialty Care Performance

(Target is 43 percent or higher. The following are the categories that did NOT meet the performance target. In parentheses are the appointments completed in 14 days or less, the number of completed appointments, followed by the average wait time in days for the month of March 2014.)

  • Physical Med and Rehab SVC — 40%    (47/118; 17 days)
  • Audiology — 42%    (119/280; 20 days)
  • Speech Language Pathology — 40%    (10/25; 13 days)
  • Physical Therapy — 38%    (26/29, 19 days)
  • General Internal Medicine — 18%    (6/34; 39 days)
  • Allergy Immunization — 13%    (2/15; 40 days)
  • Dermatology — 26%    (36/136; 44 days)
  • Diabetes — 8%    (4/49; 27 days)
  • Gastroenterology — 4%    (1/26; 25 days)
  • Pulmonary/Chest — 15%    (13/88; 43 days)
  • Renal/Nephrol (Except Dialysis) — 40%    (17/42; 18 days)
  • Neurology — 25%    (23/93; 43 days)
  • Hepatology Clinic — 17%    (3/18; 36 days)
  • Ear, Nose and Throat — 26%    (52/198; 20 days)
  • Ophthalmology — 17%    (49/294; 36 days)
  • Podiatry — 13%    (19/149; 50 days)
  • Thoracic Surgery — 36%    (5/14; 19 days)
  • Urology — 17%    (26/149; 28 days)
  • Vascular Surgery — 28%    (5/18; 21 days)


Hines met its specialty-care performance target score in 23 categories:

  • Comprehensive women’s primary care — 78%
  • Geriatric primary care — 50%
  • Nutrition/dietetics — 51%
  • Radiation therapy — 86%
  • Dental — 45%
  • Polytrauma/Traumatic brain injury — 50%
  • Occupational therapy — 68%
  • Spinal cord injury —75%
  • Kinesiotherapy — 72%
  • Cardiology — 64%
  • Hematology — 44%
  • Infectious disease — 92%
  • Rheumatology — 75%
  • General surgery — 52%
  • Gynecology — 48%
  • Neurosurgery — 54%
  • Optometry — 50%
  • Plastic surgery — 82%
  • Pain clinic — 86%
  • Mental Health Clinic — 95%
  • Psychology — 100%
  • Sub use disorder — 100%
  • Mental health integrated care — 84%
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — 100%





2 responses to “VA Part 2: Hines Hospital Fails 21 of 45 Performance Categories

  1. Bruce, you obvious know little about the VA and only wish to spout Fox talking points. The VA has a limited audience and because of that, they serve people over a very wide geographical area. They have a limited number of doctors that have to see a lot of people. After 2 wars, they are definitely strained beyond their limits and need to expand. The bill that just passed the senate would be a good start to alleviate some of the pressure on our VAMC’s. It would allow vets who are either experiencing long wait times or live more than 40 miles out to get on a medicare like system to get their healthcare. I have been using the VA Healthcare system for over a decade and have had excellent service from them…service that has greatly improved since Obama has been in office. This bill would be awesome. I live in Yorkville and Hines is about 60 miles away, which does make it difficult at times to get to appointments. Wen I have to go, no only does the round trip use up a 1/2 tank of gas, it also pretty much destroys my day because of the commute times to get there and I am usually there for a couple of hours. Also, if there is an emergency, Hines is pretty useless tome. I still have to go to a local hospital and it is not always reimbursed by the VA…leaving me with some pretty high medical bills. The ability to go to a local doctor and use local hospitals would be awesome. If you really want to help…instead of just bitching about it on forums and spewing Fox News talking points, contact your elected officials and get them to enact change.


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