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Earlier this week, we featured a story about the misconduct of an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs who is expected to plead guilty for stealing gravestones from a national cemetery in Rhode Island, which he used as flooring in a shed and garages on his own property.
But a more serious matter involving the ongoing misconduct of VA employees has now come to light: their rationing of health care by denying care to the nation’s veterans. The Huffington Post reports that one-third of the veterans who sought medical care from the VA died before receiving any care:
A review of veteran death records provided to the Huffington Post found that, as of April, 847,822 veterans were awaiting healthcare and that of those, 238,647 were already deceased.
The report was handed over by Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA’s Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta.
He also sent copies to the House and Senate VA panels and to the White House.
A VA spokeswoman told Huffington Post that the department can’t subtract dead applicants from the list and that some may never have completed an application but remain on the back log.
Spokeswoman Walinda West also said that more than 80 percent veterans who come to the department “have either Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare or some other private insurance.”
“Consequently, some in pending status may have decided to use other options instead of completing their eligibility application.”
Davis dismissed that argument.
“VA wants you to believe, by virtue of people being able to get health care elsewhere, it’s not a big deal. But VA is turning away tens of thousands of veterans eligible for health care,” he said. “VA is making it cumbersome, and then saying, ‘See? They didn’t want it anyway.'”
The Huffington Post‘s report also indicates that the VA is demanding more funding for its programs and is threatening to begin shutting down a number of its hospitals for veterans in August 2015 unless it receives the money by that time.
We would suggest that the U.S. Congress might find adequate funds to sustain the VA’s operations through the end of the fiscal year by clawing back all of the bonuses its managers and employees received after generating false documentation that indicated they were meeting the Department’s goals for providing timely medical care to the nation’s veterans.
U.S. Department of Defense