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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Veterans Affairs Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson says the Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia has cut wait times for new veteran patients from about 77 to 53 days with an outreach program and extended clinic hours.

Gibson told reporters Wednesday that while improvements have been made, more work is needed to improve patient care in the veteran health care system. He spoke following a visit to the Medical Center in Columbia.

An audit of the VA in June showed that patients seeking care at Dorn waited an average of 77 days for their first appointment with a primary care doctor - five times longer than the department's goal. Last year, the VA's inspector general found delayed screenings for colorectal cancer were linked to dozens of malignant cancers and six deaths.

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