What is Going on With the VA?
We do our best at Always Best Care Senior Services of Central Connecticut to act as mediators and avoid controversy.
But sometimes, there’s a conversation that just has to be had.
As the headlines explode about billions of dollars being spent on immigrants coming over the border… it seems that the news of the Veteran Affairs scandal has quickly become buried.
We’re talking about the men and women – and their families – that have sacrificed so much for our country… who have somehow seemingly been forgotten.
So what’s the situation all about?
You’ve probably heard that there’s a problem with the Veterans Affairs system, but what’s it all about?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs handles three major categories for America’s veterans: medical care, benefits, and burials/memorials.
Let’s take a look at the medical care side of things.
Once a veteran is discharged from the armed services, he or she must enroll in the VA system by calling a toll-free number, going to a clinic, or applying online. Veterans must have their discharge forms — known as a DD214 — to start the process.
Veterans go through a means test each year — a review of financial information to determine the priority group for enrollment and whether that person is able to make a co-pay.
New patients are supposed to see a doctor within 14 days after their paperwork is accepted, and existing patients are supposed to see a doctor between 14 and 30 days after requesting an appointment.
That does not seem to be happening in many places and is at the crux of the scandal.
An interim independent report by the VA’s inspector general found that officials falsified records at a medical center in Phoenix, hiding the amount of time that veterans had to wait for medical appointments. According to the report, 1,700 veterans were kept on waiting lists and veterans waited an average of 115 days for an initial primary care appointment.
There have been claims of false record-keeping and long waiting lists for care at VA facilities across the country; the report called inappropriate scheduling “systemic” within the system. In some places, veterans have died while waiting for care, though there is no known link between the deaths and delays.
Other allegations include an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a VA hospital and a mismanaged gastroenterology program that delayed treatment to veterans.
So many stories are just coming to light. Like the woman whose husband died while waiting for an appointment with the VA hospital. Two years later… she received a letter saying they could get him in for an appointment. In the letter, they also let her know that timeliness is important to them… and that she needed to respond ASAP. The even more cruel irony? Military funeral expenses weren’t covered… because he had never been seen by the VA hospital.
There IS support out there for our veterans. If you couldn’t tell… we’re extremely passionate about helping and being an advocate for those who served.