35% of backlogged VA healthcare applicants died waiting for benefit approval

The Department of Veterans Affairs still has a massive backlog of nearly 900,000 healthcare applications ‒ including more than 300,000 from veterans who died waiting for their benefits to be approved, a report by the agency’s inspector general found.

The VA’s internal watchdog, the Office of the Inspector General, released a report Wednesday that looked into a whistleblower’s claims of extensive, persistent problems in the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) Health Eligibility Center enrollment records.

The OIG found that the VHA’s enrollment system had about 867,000 pending records as of September 30, 2014. On top of that, at least 307,000 applications ‒ or about 35 percent of all pending records ‒ were associated with individuals reported as deceased by the Social Security Administration.

The VA previously said that it has no way to purge the names of deceased veterans from its application database. The agency has publicly acknowledged that its enrollment process is confusing and that the enrollment system, data integrity and quality “are in need of significant improvement,” VA spokeswoman Walinda West said on Wednesday.

As of June 30, the VA had contacted 302,045 veterans by mail, asking them to submit required documents to establish eligibility, West noted. To date, the VA has received 36,749 responses and enrolled 34,517 veterans.

This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.

Via RT.