Outrageous IG Report: More Than 307K Vets Died Waiting for VA Care
More than 300,000 veterans died waiting for health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a report from the VA’s inspector general revealed.
As of September 2014, more than 307,000 pending enrollment system records were for people who had died, the report found. That’s about 35 percent of all pending records, the inspector general said.
The troubling report also found that VA staffers may have deleted more than 10,000 records over the last five years.
The inspector general’s report came in response to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs' request to look into allegations of mismanagement within the VA.
We substantiated the second allegation that pending ES records included entries for individuals reported to be deceased. As of September 2014, more than 307,000 pending ES records, or about 35 percent of all pending records, were for individuals reported as deceased by the Social Security Administration. However, due to data limitations, we could not determine specifically how many pending ES records represent veterans who applied for health care benefits. These conditions occurred because the enrollment program did not effectively define, collect, and manage enrollment data. In addition, VHA lacked adequate procedures to identify date of death information and implement necessary updates to the individual’s status. Unless VHA officials establish effective procedures to identify deceased individuals and accurately update their status, ES will continue to provide unreliable information on the status of applications for veterans seeking enrollment in the VA health care system.
We substantiated the third allegation that employees incorrectly marked unprocessed applications as completed and possibly deleted 10,000 or more transactions from the Workload Reporting and Productivity (WRAP) tool over the past 5 years. While the HEC often deleted transactions for legitimate purposes, such as the removal of duplicate transactions, information security deficiencies within WRAP limited our ability to review some issues fully and rule out manipulation of data.