Originally published July 30 2015
VA hospital kills more American soldiers than our enemies
by Daniel Barker
(NaturalNews) The extent of the shameful neglect on the part of the Department of Veterans Affairs toward sick veterans seeking health care is only now becoming apparent. A leaked document has revealed that more than 238,000 veterans died while their applications for treatment were pending.
That's nearly one-third of the more than 800,000 veterans with pending VA health care applications. The figures are taken from an April 2015 report conducted by the VA Health Eligibility Center and the VA Office of Analytics, titled "Analysis of Death Services."
The document was leaked to Huffington Post by whistleblower Scott Davis, a VA Health Eligibility Center program specialist.
VA spokesperson Walinda West attempted to dismiss the implications of the report - namely, that nearly a quarter of a million veterans died while awaiting care - by saying that some of the data is old, that some of the applicants likely never completed their applications and that some may have chosen to use other types of health insurance.
Davis contends that West's claims are false, and that incomplete applications would never have been classified as "pending. He also points out that it is "immaterial and a farce" for the VA to imply that veterans should seek health care other than that to which they are entitled.
"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. VA is making it cumbersome, and then saying, 'See? They didn't want it anyway.'"
At the very least, the VA has been shown to be sorely lacking in its record-keeping practices, and many critics charge that this has been, at times, deliberate obfuscation of the fact that their health care programs have neglected veterans and that, in numerous cases, this neglect has led to their deaths.
Whitewashing and coverups Last year, the VA was at the center of a controversy involving the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, which had kept secret a waiting list of veterans awaiting treatment. Phoenix VA managers hatched an "elaborate scheme" to hide the fact that there were as many as 1,600 sick veterans who were unable to see a doctor for months on end. It is estimated that as many as 40 veterans died while awaiting care from the Phoenix VA Health Care system.
And although this case is not directly related to the current controversy involving pending applications - the Phoenix VA patients were already in the system - it illustrates that, at least at the local level, VA officials are all-too-willing to lie in attempts to cover up neglect.
The current controversy indicates that also at the highest levels, VA authorities will do anything necessary to hide or deny their shoddy (and possibly deliberately misleading) recordkeeping practices, while dismissing evidence of their continued systematic neglect of the people who served our country and earned their right to decent health care.
Meanwhile, Scott Davis continues his efforts to call attention to the problems associated with VA programs and the tendency to neglect our veterans' health care needs. For instance, Davis has sent a letter to Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, detailing the backlog issue. In it, he points out that, "34,000 combat veterans are among those listed as pending for health care - none of whom should be on that list since combat veterans are granted five years of guaranteed eligibility for VA health care."
The time is overdue to begin providing our veterans with the health care they need and deserve. Hopefully these new revelations will stir up enough public outcry to force the VA to live up to its responsibilities and commitments towards those who served our country.
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