The men and women who serve and have served in our nation's armed forces deserve the utmost respect and honor. These brave individuals risk life and limb to protect the U.S. and its citizens without asking for much in return. After serving in conflicts and wars and suffering debilitating physical and mental injuries, the least the federal government can do is provide veterans with free health care services.
We recently wrote a post detailing disturbing information that was recently uncovered when one VA whistleblower decided to speak out about the inadequate care provided to many veterans. As a result of this and similar reports, former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki called for audits to be conducted at 731 VA hospitals and clinics across the country.
The results of those audits uncovered that more than 57,400 veterans are currently "waiting for care 90 days after their appointments were scheduled." What's more, appointment schedulers at 90 clinics reported being ordered by a supervisor to alter dates so as to paint the VA facilities in a more positive light. In many cases the schedulers also reported to either feeling coerced into altering appointment dates or punished for failing to do so.
In speaking out about the findings of the audits, VA Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson acknowledged the problems uncovered were widespread and systemic in nature. He also declared the VA's commitment to discovering those VA officials who ordered or were involved in the deceptive and deplorable actions, saying the agency would "initiate the process of removing senior leaders."
In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, a veteran must obtain a formal declaration from a doctor that he or she is partially or fully disabled. In addition to many of the health care issues impacting all Americans, U.S. veterans often suffer additional physical and mental injuries as a result of their service. From occupational diseases caused by exposure to dangerous substances to post traumatic stress disorder, veterans need and should be able to expect prompt and optimum medical care.
Source: ABC News, "VA Audit Finds 100,000 Veterans Waiting for Health Care," Luis Martinez, June 9, 2014