VA urged by lawmakers to fix claims that wrongly cost vets $53 million

This month, the Department of Veterans Affairs secretary was urged by thirty-five members of Congress to revise thousands of medical claims for veterans who were left with charges that the VA should’ve covered.

According to an article published by StarsandSripes.com, “The group of lawmakers, which included Republicans and Democrats, wrote to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie following the release of what they described as a “damning report” last week from the VA Office of Inspector General. The IG discovered the VA wrongfully rejected thousands of emergency-care claims during a five-month period in 2017, affecting an estimated 17,400 veterans who were stuck with varying medical bills that totaled $53.3 million. They asked Wilkie for a thorough explanation of how the VA plans to follow through with 11 recommendations made in the IG report. They also asked Wilkie to communicate with veterans whose claims were inappropriately rejected and re-adjudicate the claims the agency should’ve paid.”

On Monday, the VA issued an official statement saying that they were in the process of reviewing some of the claims highlighted in the report and planned to contact the affected veterans and let them know about their options. In the report, the Government Accountability Office was reported as detailing similar issues in 2014 with lawmakers stating in a letter that “This is not new territory for the VA…More than five years ago, GAO found that VA’s weak oversight of emergency care claims adjudication could lead to inappropriate denial of claims. It is disappointing the department has not done enough to improve.”

The VA responded by saying that they had employed “numerous efforts” more than a year ago in order to fix these issues, including employee training and updating claims-processing guidelines to provide better quality and accuracy.  The report estimated that $533 million in medical costs would inappropriately fall to veterans over 5 years if the VA failed to correct the problem.

To learn more about this report and how it affects veterans, click HERE.

Relevant pages: Veterans Disability