Politics

VA Inspector General Admits Over 300,000 Vets Died Waiting For Health Care

| by Alexander Rubinstein

The Department of Veterans Affairs system that tracks veterans’ applications for health care is so bad that VA officials have no idea how many former troops want health care.

Allegations were made by a whistleblower in July that almost one-third of the 847,882 veterans in the Veteran Health Administration enrollment system died while they waited for health care. Since then, the VA inspector general has investigated the system and confirmed with the Social Security Administration that 307,000 former military died while on waiting lists.

Investigators also found the VA system could not tell how many records in the system are actually associated with applicants for health care. More than one-half of the records did not contain a date associated with the application’s filing, reported USA Today.

VA employees incorrectly marked unprocessed applicants as completed, and as many as 10,000 applications have been deleted in the past five years, the investigation also found.

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As many as 11,000 applicants and 28,000 related transactions have not been processed, according to the inspector general’s report. Some of the unprocessed records date as far back as September 2012.

The inspector general said the database is not adequate for its intended task, which is to track the progress of veterans' applications for health care from the VA.

Inspectors wrote in the report that, “Enrollment program data were generally unreliable for monitoring, reporting on the status of health care enrollments and making decisions regarding overall processing timeliness, in spite of the costs to collect the data and maintain the enrollment system.”

Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA’s Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta, Georgia, blew the whistle on the VA’s failings by providing The Huffington Post with an April 2015 report reviewing the VA’s accuracy with veteran death records.

VA spokeswoman Walinda West said the VA has no way of getting rid of dead applicants in its system, or the applications of those who apply but never complete their application. Around 81 percent of veterans who come to the VA get some kind of health coverage, West said.

Following the story, the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee requested the investigation.

Davis has been assigned to a lesser job in a secluded office. He said, “Ultimately, my goal was to help. I didn’t do this, as some people have accused, to make the VA look bad. I did it to fix the problem.”

Sources: USA Today, The Huffington Post / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons