Half a million veterans are still waiting at least a month to receive medical attention at the Department of Veterans Affairs, while thousands more are being forced to wait several months for an appointment.
According to data quietly released by the VA Wednesday, the number of veterans waiting 30 days or more for care at the VA increased in early May from 494,690 to 505,880, a jump of more than 10,000 patients.
The numbers came as Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald recovers from criticism of his comparison of VA wait times to wait times at Disney attractions. McDonald told reporters at a May 23 breakfast that the VA did not consider wait times a "valid" measure of a veteran's experience with the agency.
But veterans all over the country must still wait months before they can see a VA doctor.
The data published Wednesday indicates 46,672 veterans waited between three and four months for an appointment in the first two weeks of May. That number represented an increase of more than 2,000 veterans over the previous reporting period.
Thousands of veterans are even waiting even longer than four months for VA care, the data report said.
The VA has struggled to decrease delays in VA healthcare since a nationwide scheme to cover up those wait times was exposed in 2014. That year, whistleblowers came forward and highlighted the use of secret patient waiting lists to cover up delays that existed at 110 VA facilities around the country.
The report suggests the wait times have gotten even longer over the past year.
For example, the number of veterans waiting more than a month for an appointment jumped by 78,000 since the same point in 2015.