Health
Health

Report: 867,000 Vets Waiting For VA Health Care, One Third May Be Dead

| by Michael Allen

A report released today by Linda Halliday, the acting inspector general of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), found there are 867,000 military veterans who have pending applications for VA health care.

The inspector general's report said that because of "serious" problems with VA health care enrollment information, investigators "could not reliably determine how many records were associated with actual applications for enrollment," notes the Associated Press.

A third of those veterans actively seeking health care from the VA are likely dead, according to the report.

The inspector general's report also claimed that 13 percent of the vets in the system have been waiting more than five years for a decision on their health care status, notes The Washington Times.

According to the inspector general, the VA has no requirements for how fast applications must be processed.

The Washington Times reports that the VA's computerized record system was created in 2009, but employees didn't check to see if all those records were active or dead.

The inspector general's report also found that when VA employees tried to fix their broken system, about 10,000 vets may have been deleted from the computer system without having their applications processed.

The inspector general recommended that the VA create a time limit on how long applications can remain in a pending status, and called for the appointment of a top official to fix the problems.

However, President Obama named Robert McDonald, a former CEO with Proctor and Gamble, in June 2014 as the new Veterans Affairs Secretary to fix problems that were exposed earlier in the year when Eric Shinseki resigned from the position, noted USA TODAY.

McDonald began his post by claiming that a veteran "is our customer," even though vets are not customers and the VA has never been a business.

The VA's inspector general added that the VA needs to create a system that can verify which vets have died, and keep the applications of the undead from being deleted before they are processed.

While the VA did not issue a comment, the VA's Undersecretary for Health, David Shulkin, said he agreed with the recommendations and was going to try to solve the problems “with the utmost seriousness.”

Sources: Associated Press, USA TODAY, The Washington Times / Image Credit: VA/Wikipedia