When it comes to healthcare, what difference does the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs make for the men and women who have returned from overseas? According to many veterans, not enough.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) claims it has made major improvements in the services it provides our nation’s veterans, but the governmental organization has not shown much evidence to back that claim. The massive data manipulation scandal (reported on here by CNN) that came to light early last year supposedly shook the bureau’s to the core, yet many veterans are still awaiting the promised changes.
According to an explosive report released in September, over 300,000 veterans may have died while waiting for care over the past few decades. As the investigation progressed, it became clear that VA leadership spent their time falsifying performance figures rather than ensuring that veterans waiting for care received proper attention.
Further complicating matters for the bureau, a proposed hospital in Denver remains under construction, despite the fact that it has already overshot its budget by almost $1.5 billion, according to NPR. VA leadership couldn’t pinpoint the exact reasons for the budget mismanagement, and yet another investigation has been launched by the Department of the Army to uncover the discrepancies.
That’s right — not only does it seem as though the department’s negligence has caused veterans to die on its watch, but it’s also struggling to explain financial mismanagement regarding allocation of taxpayer funds.
Setting the Record Straight?
In April 2015, the VA published a fact sheet entitled “VA Making Progress to Improve Service for Veterans.” The document clearly outlined all of the bureau’s accomplishments — but neglected to mention the many issues still requiring attention.
The fact sheet also made the claim that 91% of VA medical facilities had “new leaders or leadership teams” put in place since June 2014. But according to the New York Times, only eight out of 280,000 bureau employees faced any consequences for the ongoing scandals. Only one employee was actually fired — the Phoenix Hospital director Sharon Helman — and that was for receiving “inappropriate gifts,” not for involvement in falsifying the hospital’s waiting lists.
“VA Is Lying, Veterans Are Dying”
With all of these issues surrounding the VA, many veterans have had enough, and some have taken action to shed light on the dilemma. A billboard on I-94 in Tomah, Wisconsin, carries the simple-but-catchy text, “VA is Lying, Veterans are Dying”, as wxow.com details.
It’s part of a grassroots campaign to raise awareness and support for the bureau’s overall poor treatment of veterans — and several other billboards (shown here in this video by WISH-TV) have been erected in cities where service is especially poor, as The Daily Caller illustrates. The “VA is Lying” Facebook group has over 21,000 members and counting, a testament to how many veterans still feel underserved to this day.
Stepping Up for Veterans
With the VA in turmoil, veterans need a reliable, inexpensive way to receive the healthcare they need and so clearly deserve. While the Affordable Care Act has made it easier to sign up for health insurance, people with untraditional circumstances — like many veterans waiting for VA attention — are still searching for more comprehensive care.
Veterans waiting on the bureau for service could look to SingleCare to fulfill their healthcare needs now. The streamlined platform allows members to access high-quality medical providers without signing any long-term commitments or paying premiums — and it’s free to become a member.
SingleCare is available to everyone, both uninsured and insured, and fills the gaps in insurance policies that can leave members vulnerable. For veterans stuck on the long VA waiting lists with no end in sight, having another option means they can finally receive the care they’ve earned.
(Main image credit: flySnow/Thinkstock)