Thousands of health care applications abandoned

In an effort to shrink a massive backlog of requests, an arm of the Veterans Affairs Department in Atlanta has eliminated more than 200k applications from across the country for health care early this year, saying they were missing signatures or information.

According to an article published by Stripes.com, “Veterans groups say the VA should have done more to communicate with the veterans before closing their applications, some of which date back to 1998. Troops face additional challenges in applying for VA health care, they said, as they grapple with reentry into civilian life, change addresses following overseas deployments and suffer from combat stress. In the middle of the controversy is the VA’s Health Eligibility Center, the Atlanta office that oversees the process by which veterans seek access to the VA medical system. It and its parent agency have come under intense scrutiny in recent years for mismanagement and delays in providing medical care, presenting a thorny challenge for the administration of President Donald Trump, who focused on veterans’ care during his presidential campaign.”

According to agency records, there were 8.8 million veterans enrolled in the VA’s health care system as of April this year. The VA said, “pending applications totaled 317,157 in April, down from a high of 886,045 last year, according to records the VA sent the AJC.”

According to veterans’ advocacy groups like Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the current backlog is still “way too high,” and they suggest collaboration between the VA and veteran service groups in order to shrink it more.

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