By Debbie Gregory.
With close to 900,000 military veterans waiting to access health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the department’s inspector general said that a major overhaul of the record-keeping system processing the applications was needed.
Sadly, approximately 28% of those veterans are thought to be deceased, but the VA has said it has no way to purge the list of dead applicants.
Linda Halliday, the VA’s acting inspector general, told the AP that the agency’s Health Eligibility Center “has not effectively managed its business processes to ensure the consistent creation and maintenance of essential data.”
According to a scathing report by the inspector general, VA workers incorrectly marked thousands of unprocessed health-care applications as completed. They may have deleted 10,000 or more electronic “transactions” over the past five years.
Whistleblowers have been warning that more than 200,000 veterans with pending applications for VA health care were likely deceased. The inspector general’s report substantiated those claims.
Last year, the VA publicly acknowledged that the enrollment system management and data integrity and quality “are in need of significant improvement. VA realizes the issues surrounding the enrollment process are confusing to Veterans and our stakeholders.”
The VA has contacted 302,045 veterans by mail, asking them to submit required documents to establish eligibility. To date, the VA has received 36,749 responses and enrolled 34,517 veterans, with outreach efforts continuing.
“As we continue our work to contact veterans, our focus remains on improving the enrollment system to better serve veterans,” said VA spokeswoman Walinda West “We will work diligently to address the issues their report raised to continue to improve the enrollment system to better serve Veterans.”
Meeting their healthcare needs provides us the opportunity to express our pride and appreciation to and for the many who have served and sacrificed to make our country free. It’s the very least we can do.