A leaked document revealed that more than 35,000 combat veterans are being denied health care enrollment by the Department of Veterans Affairs because of a computer system error. This veterans news comes on the heels of another leaked document showing more than 238,000 of the 847,000 veterans with pending applications for health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs have already died. Are you, like us here at BuiltUSA, growing tired of the bad news coming out of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs?
How did this latest round of bad news about denial and delays in veterans health care and mismanagement at the VA come to light? It looks like a VA whistleblower who works for the organization released the documents to news organizations and has spoken out on this latest VA health care outrage.
Whistleblower Reveals Issue with Combat Veterans Denied VA Health Care
Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA’s Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta and a past whistleblower on VA mismanagement, provided HuffPost with a recent VA analysis of the number of combat vets, by city, who are listed as “pending” for health care enrollment because they didn’t complete a so-called means test, which assesses their household income. Many vets have to submit a means test to be enrolled, but it’s not required for combat vets, who are automatically eligible for five years of free care. The policy is spelled out on the VA’s website.
The document shows that 35,093 combat vets who applied for health care aren’t getting it because the VA system has erroneously flagged them as needing to submit a means test.
“The VA has created an illegal, artificial barrier for people to access care,” Davis said. “We’re not talking about people who didn’t get care because they didn’t want it. We’re talking about people who turned in applications and VA said, ‘No, go into a backlog because you didn’t give us financial information.'”
Response from VA Regarding Denial of Health Care to Combat Veterans
So, what did the Department of Veterans Affairs have to say about this latest bad news regarding our military veterans? Well, they aren’t denying the fact that they denied 35,000 combat veterans – mostly Iraq War veterans and Afghanistan War veterans – the health care they earned and deserved. They also are not denying that combat vets aren’t required to provide financial information to be enrolled in health care.
In fact, VA management has known about the problem since April from what was reported. Even then it wasn’t until, last month that they issued a “change request” directing their systems management staff to create a computer script to “automatically complete a means test” for all pending combat vets.
And according to VA spokeswoman Walinda West, the “VA is actively taking action to enroll and further reach out to these Veterans (by telephone and letters) due to the length of time some of these applications have been pending.” She even went on to say that they had VA staffers working overtime last month calling the 35,000 combat vets to let them know of their pending health care status.
But is this VA fixing the problem?
Problems Continue with Fixes VA is Implementing
According to reports, even after the request for a computer script to fix the problem affecting combat veterans, nothing has happened. The request was made in April. It is now August.
And what about those VA staffers tirelessly working overtime to help the combat vets affected by the computer error. Well, it seems they aren’t offering much help either. In fact, according to the Huffington Post news story, those VA staff members are making it harder for those veterans to get the health care they deserve by, “telling combat vets they have to fill out another form agreeing to co-pays before they can be enrolled — even though they already agreed to co-pays in their original application.”
Instead of putting up another barrier to enrollment, the Department of Veterans Affairs should be fast-tracking these combat veterans and getting them the VA health care then need and deserve immediately.
And what has VA Secretary Robert McDonald had to say on this issue affecting U.S. combat veterans? We’d love to tell you that he’s put this issue front and center on his agenda, but he’s been completely silent – besides telling a reporter his phone number and to call him while then not returning the call – on this important VA health care issue.
VA leadership at its finest.