In a report issued Wednesday, the Veterans Administration Inspector General stated that hundreds of thousands of honorably discharged military veterans died before their applications for health care were processed.
Let’s get this straight. These are not veterans already approved for health care and trying to slog through the VA Hospital system. These were veterans who had processed the necessary paperwork ASKING for health care benefits. The inspector general stated that out of approximately 800,000 records “stalled” in the VA’s health care enrollment system, more than 307,000 applications belonged to veterans who died months or years ago. Yes, that is MONTHS or YEARS ago.
Apparently, a whistleblower alleged mismanagement at the VA Health Eligibility Center which processes applications. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs requested an investigation, which prompted the report. In addition, the report states that VA personnel “incorrectly marked unprocessed applications” and could have possibly deleted 10,000 or more records in the last five years.
Specific cases were cited, which include a veteran who applied for VA health care in 1998 and who was placed in “pending” status for 14 years. That’s right. FOURTEEN YEARS. The report also stated that a 2010 VA “internal investigation” found that personnel stuffed veterans’ applications in their desk drawers to be processed later. However, human resources recommended that the personnel not be disciplined over the mishandling of the applications.
Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA Health Eligibility Center, said that veterans who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan have been improperly placed in the enrollment system’s backlog and have not received the health care they so desperately need. Many of these veterans have since lost their five-year eligibility due to the delay. Davis stated:
“People who fought, and who earned the right to VA health care, were never given VA health care. They literally died while waiting for VA to process their health care application.”
Is this what the men and women who put it all on the line for this country really deserve?
Featured image courtesy of examiner.com