A new report reveals some damning incompetence at the Veterans Administration. "The Department of Veterans Affairs’ system for tracking veterans’ applications for health care is so unreliable that it's impossible for VA officials to know how many former troops still want care — or even if they are still alive."
Investigating allegations made by a whistleblower in July that nearly a third of 847,882 veterans listed in the Veterans Health Administration enrollment system died while waiting for care, the VA Inspector General confirmed with the Social Security Administration that 307,000 former troops on the list are in fact deceased.
In addition, the investigators found that the VA's system cannot determine how many records are associated with application for health services, more than half the applications had no date on them.
Worse yet, "employees incorrectly marked unprocessed applications as completed and may have deleted as many as 10,000 applications during the past five years," USA Today describes. The backlog of patients waiting for care is sizeable. The Inspector General's report shows that 11,00 applications and 28,000 related transactions have not been processed -- going back as far as 2012.
"Enrollment program data were generally unreliable for monitoring, reporting on the status of health care enrollments and making decisions regarding overall processing timeliness, in spite of the costs to collect the data and maintain the enrollment system,” inspectors wrote in the report.
The whistleblower who initially came forward about the incompetence at the VA might be vindicated by the report, he remains punished as he was "assigned a lesser job in a secluded office" after coming forward to the media and to Congress.