VA To Shut Down Hospitals While Veterans Die Waiting For Benefits

VA To Shut Down Hospitals While Veterans Die Waiting For Benefits

VA To Shut Down Hospitals While Veterans Die Waiting For Benefits

The Veterans Administration is whining about money problems again. It seems that they’ve blown through $16 Billion in just over a year. And so, on very short notice, they sent out a dire warning:

The Department of Veterans Affairs may have to shut down some hospitals next month if Congress does not address a $2.5 billion shortfall for the current budget year, VA officials warned Monday.

The VA told Congress that it needs to cover shortfalls caused by an increased demand by veterans for health care, including costly treatments for hepatitis C. The agency also is considering furloughs, hiring freezes and other steps to close a funding gap for the budget year that ends Sept. 30.

How do they plan to fix their money woes? Its a two-part solution it seems. First, lets raid the Veterans Choice program. That particular $10 billion dollar program was put in place just last year. But that’s not all. The next phase of their “solution” is to close some hospitals. Which ones you ask? That’s anyone’s guess. However, I’d bet that the Aurora, CO facility pictured below will NOT be on that list.

vahospitalaerial0413web*750xx960-540-0-50

To put it bluntly, the Aurora VA project is a hot mess. Its such a mess that contractors have walked off the project, and Congress had to throw the “biggest construction failure” ever $100 million just to keep it going.

That’s just enough for three weeks of construction. By the way, the current estimated cost for the Aurora facility is $1.73 billion. The project is quite the lesson in ballooning costs and zero oversight. For example, instead of $66.5 million for three parking complexes at Aurora, the cost is now $180 million. No, that isn’t a typo!

Overall, the cost of construction rose 150 percent to $1.48 billion from $589 million in 2011, according to the new estimate. The total does not include $193 million for land acquisition, design and construction support.

But wait! The VA has saved SOME money. No, not at the Aurora project. Instead the VA let veterans die before they could receive medical care.The Huffington Post has the infuriating story:

More than 238,000 of the 847,000 veterans with pending applications for health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs have already died, according to an internal VA document provided to The Huffington Post.

Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA’s Health Eligibility Center in Atlanta and a past whistleblower on the VA’s failings, provided HuffPost with an April 2015 report titled “Analysis of Death Services,” which reviews the accuracy of the VA’s veteran death records. The report was conducted by staffers in the VA Health Eligibility Center and the VA Office of Analytics.

Furthermore, there are approximately 34,000 combat veterans on this so-called “pending” list. There’s one problem with that. Combat veterans are eligible for VA health benefits immediately. The VA, of course, is already trying to spin the figures and information contained in the report, which you can read in its entirety here. VA spokeswoman Walinda West tried to say that some of the information is from the 1980’s, is from incomplete applications, and that its likely that many veterans have their own insurance. One small problem with that.

But Davis disputed West on every point. For starters, an incomplete application would never be listed as a pending application, he said. Beyond that, the health records system West is referring to is just that: general health records, not pending applications for enrollment in health care. The VA has only required enrollment in health care since 1998, he said, and there was no formal application process before that. Davis provided an internal VA chart that shows backlogged applications only beginning in 1998.

Take a look at both charts and you tell me who you want to believe?

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VABacklogChart

Supposedly the VA is fixing its accountability problems and is no longer mismanaging funds. And supposedly the VA is truly looking out for our nation’s veterans. If you believe that, there’s some swampland in the desert… I’d say President Obama, VA Secretary Robert McDonald and Congress need to get their act together and fast.

Obama (2)

Quality medical care is supposed to be one of the VA’s top priorities for our nation’s veterans, but it isn’t. The VA’s blatant and callous mismanagement of our veterans healthcare system is indefensible.

vets24n-1-web

Real reform and accountability must be insisted upon. To expect anything less for our nation’s veterans would be a shameful disservice to the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe from harm.

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5 Comments
  • Tim Sigmund says:

    A government estimate coming in at a fraction of the cost is nothing new. Government money is Monopoly money! It means nothing to them.
    But not all of this falls on the VA. Our culture has embraced the idea that these vets coming back simply cannot adjust. I would wager (my Monopoly money) that the absolute vast majority of disability goes to vets who have no physical problems at all. We, as a society, have encouraged them to not overcome their issues. We have encouraged them to have problems even if there are none. How many more soldiers came back from WWII? They believed they could assimilate and they did. It stemmed from a prevailing societal attitude of ‘Yes you can.’
    Now, I’m not ignorant in this. But the influx of newly ‘disabled’ has crippled the system – financially AND taking the ability to apply resources to weed out the truly needy so instead they just treat everybody. Yes, they are not as responsible as they need to be. But they are also in a bit of a pickle too.

    • Nina says:

      There is some truth to what you say. However, much of the care and particularly the veterans discussed in the report are veterans of several wars, not just the recent war in Afghanistan and Iraq. I would say that veterans from WWII on have suffered at the hands of the VA incompetence and paid the price for it.

      Yes, you do have a bit of a point when it comes to some being in the system who might be a “bad apple.” But over 1/3 of the veterans on the list pass away before getting approved to get care? Over 34,000 combat veterans who got put on hold when they weren’t supposed to be? THAT’s the problem that the VA needs to fix (among many other issues)

  • Appalled By The World says:

    This is about par for this regime to let happen. The bigwigs in DC never have met a soldier that they liked-unless said soldier was in a Red Army from one of their utopias. This is just more of their social justice where “baby killers” get what they deserve apparently.

  • Lisa Carr says:

    …..but, by all means, let’s subsidize sex change operations!

  • ScienceABC123 says:

    The VA’s $16 Billion yearly budget would serve the veterans far better by using it to enhance their health insurance rather than the government trying to provide veteran health care.

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