Over the past several weeks, scandal has rocked the Department of Veterans Affairs. First, the public learned that a single clinic run by the VA had covered up its scheduling procedures in such a way that hundreds of patients had been delayed access to necessary care. Then, the public learned that this unacceptable treatment of our nation’s veterans was not isolated to a single clinic but is indeed a systemic problem.
Earlier this month, the results of a nationwide audit of the VA’s healthcare system were released to the public. This audit reveals that tens of thousands of veteran patients are experiencing delays in their care or are receiving no care at all due to systemic problems within the VA system.
Specifically, the audit cites that over 57,000 veterans have been waiting in excess of three months for care at VA facilities and close to 64,000 additional veterans have yet to be seen by VA physicians despite their requests to do so and despite the fact that they have been enrolled in the VA healthcare system for approximately 10 years already.
According to the recent audit, more than 75 percent of all VA clinics have manipulated data in order to disguise how long veterans are being compelled to wait for care. When a veteran struggles with injury, illness and/or disability, the public trusts that the VA will provide him or her with adequate care. The fact that veterans are being systematically denied access to prompt and adequate care is simply unacceptable. Hopefully, the federal government will work tirelessly until this problem is properly addressed.
Source: New York Times, “Audit Shows Extensive Medical Delays for Tens of Thousands of Veterans,” Richard A. Oppel Jr., June 9, 2014