A total of 307,000 veterans have died while waiting for the Department of Veterans Affairs to process their healthcare applications, a new inspector general report found.
Allegations of mismanagement at the Veterans Health Administration’s Health Eligibility Center led to an investigation by the VA office of the inspector general, which turned up some astounding discoveries. Exactly 867,000 veterans still have their healthcare applications listed as pending in the database.
Database records stem back decades, meaning that many of the applicants would have died a long time ago while waiting for care. The exact dates are unclear, as many of the pending applications did not list dates for when the application was filed. Many deceased veterans still remain on the list because the VA has no method to remove them.
Poor data management prompted VA employees to arbitrarily delete 10,000 records from the database after marking them as complete, even if they were still unfinished and in need of resolution.
From September 2012 to January 2013 alone, the VA had 11,000 unprocessed applications on its hands.
The report confirmed that no guidance exists to establish timelines for when applications should be completed.
In effect, the findings corroborate recent reports from whistleblower Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta, who leaked documents showing similar numbers. (RELATED: Almost A Third Of Veterans On The 847,000-Long Waitlist Have Died Without VA Care)
Since this is not a new problem, the VA has already started contacting hundreds of thousands of veterans, asking them to send in new documentation to prove healthcare eligibility. According to VA spokeswoman Walinda West, the VA has enrolled 34,517 veterans.
“Today’s OIG report further reinforces what Concerned Veterans for America has been saying for years — the VHA as currently designed is ill-equipped to adequately respond to veterans’ needs and ensure they receive the timely care they deserve,” Concerned Veterans for America CEO Pete Hegseth told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement.
“We now know that hundreds of thousands of veterans had their health care applications unduly delayed, while VA personnel arbitrarily deleted more than 10,000 such applications, leaving veterans without access to the benefits they earned.”