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Welcome news for Long Island's veterans

Left to right: At Massapequa Park Village hall,

Left to right: At Massapequa Park Village hall, VFW Post 7763, Massapequa Park members Joe Mulligan, Harvey Baldwin, Bill Colfer, and Pasquale Dimonda pack gift kits to be given to patients at the Northport VA hospital. (March 28, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles Stabile

If Long Island's Veterans Affairs medical facilities had been caught up in the scandal of long waits for medical care and skulduggery to hide the problem that rocked the agency last year, the response here would have been withering. Long Islanders do not, and should not, take kindly to officials who lie to cover up poor performance.

Fortunately, most veterans here have reported no such problems and seem satisfied with the care they receive. Their perceptions now have been corroborated by data on wait times from the VA, as well as an Associated Press study of 940 VA hospitals and clinics across the nation from September to this past February.

Ninety-nine percent of those who made appointments at Long Island's only VA medical center, located in Northport, were seen within the VA's 30-day target. The record at the Island's five VA clinics ranged from almost 97 percent seen within 30 days in Patchogue, to more than 99 percent in East Meadow.

That's better than VA centers and clinics in most areas of the country, according to the AP. And that merits a thumbs-up.

Because our VA facilities are scattered around the Island, veterans have multiple options for care. Eight major VA facilities in New York City provide even more. And facilities here have enough doctors to handle the load. Doctor shortages were the core problem VA officials identified nationally in the wake of last year's scandal that uncovered workers falsifying waiting lists while 100,000 veterans waited more than 90 days each to be seen.

If that happened on Long Island, VA officials would have to take the heat. It hasn't, so attention should be paid to that, too.