American Elephants

Backlog of Veterans Claims Piling Up? — Just Destroy Them! by The Elephant's Child

December 30, 2013: The Obama administration’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki said that it is on track to eliminate the disability claims backlog.  For the first time since Barack Obama was elected president, the veterans claims backlog will end this year lower than it began.

Department of Veterans Affairs officials say they’re on track to end the backlog entirely sometime in 2015. At the start of December, the claims backlog —the number of cases unfinished for more than 125 days — sat at just under 393,000 cases. Critics call that an embarrassingly large number, especially considering that the White House pledged to fix the problem almost four years ago. But the peak was 608,000 in March.

Shinseki credits mandatory overtime for the agency workforce and new computer processing systems that pushed to agency to come out of paper to go into electronics.

February 14, 2014: Employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) destroyed veterans’ medical files in a systematic attempt to eliminate backlogged veteran medical exam requests, a former VA employee told the Daily Caller.

“The committee was called ‘System Redesign’ and the purpose of the meeting was to figure out ways to correct the department’s efficiency. And one of the issues at the time was the backlog,” said Oliver Mitchell, a Marine veteran and former patient services assistant in the VA Greater Los Angeles Medical Center.

“We just didn’t have the resources to conduct all of those exams. Basically we would get about 3,000 requests a month for [medical] exams, but in a 30-day period we only had the resources to do about 800. That rolls over to the next month and creates a backlog,” Mitchell said. “It’s a numbers thing. The waiting list counts against the hospital’s efficiency. The longer the veteran waits for an exam that counts against the hospital as far as productivity is concerned.”

By 2008, some patients were “waiting six to nine months for an exam” and VA “didn’t know how to address the issue,” Mitchell said.

VA Greater Los Angeles Radiology department chief Dr. Suzie El-Saden initiated an “ongoing discussion in the department” to cancel exam requests and destroy veterans’ medical files so that no record of the exam requests would exist, thus reducing the backlog, Mitchell said.

Audio from a November 2008 meeting was obtained by the Daily Caller.

“I’m still canceling orders from 2001,” said a male official in the meeting.

“Anything over a  year old should be canceled.” replied a female official
“Canceled or …  your backlog should start at April “07” the female official replied, adding “a lot of those patients either had their studies somewhere else, had their surgery … died, don’t live in the state. …It’s ridiculous.”

Congress has been after the VA for some time, trying to get information, responses, and explanations. This is just the first chapter is a long disgusting story. The government is not dependable. Promises are not kept. Contracts are not fulfilled. Politicians lie and cover up, and promise that which they cannot deliver, in order to get votes. Ethics start at the top.

July 1, 2013: The Backlog:


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[…] for a diagnosis. The federal government runs Veterans healthcare, and has made a mess of it.The backlog of requests for appointments grew so long that they just dumped the requests and pretended they didn’t […]


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[…] Obama’s Changi… on Backlog of Veterans Claims Pil… […]


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