You know that VA scandal death toll I keep writing about? Welcome to the "on-deck circle":
Nearly 900,000 military veterans have officially pending applications for healthcare from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the department's inspector general said Wednesday, but "serious" problems with enrollment data make it impossible to determine how many veterans were actively seeking VA healthcare.
Here comes the "good news," folks.
About one-third of the 867,000 veterans with pending applications are likely deceased, the report says, adding that "data limitations" prevent investigators from determining how many now-deceased veterans applied for healthcare benefits or when. The applications go back nearly two decades, and officials said some applicants may have died years ago.
So it's not almost a million vets that are still on the VA's death row, but just over half a million.
Whew! That was a close one.
More than half the applications listed as pending as of last year do not have application dates, and investigators "could not reliably determine how many records were associated with actual applications for enrollment" in VA healthcare, the report said.
Put another way, the VA's abysmal recordkeeping is preventing hundreds of thousands of U.S. veterans from actually gaining access to the VA's abysmal healthcare.
Hmmm; maybe this latest VA FUBAR isn't a total disaster after all.
The report also says VA workers incorrectly marked thousands of unprocessed health-care applications as completed and may have deleted ten thousand or more electronic "transactions" over the past five years.
And just think, my friends: Every last one of those VA workers functionally has a job for life, while I, the "private sector guy" with a quarter-century of evidently unwanted professional experience, sit here, day after week after month after year, functionally unemployable. It is to laugh, it really is.
Linda Halliday, the VA's acting inspector general, said the agency's Health Eligibility Center "has not effectively managed its business processes to ensure the consistent creation and maintenance of essential data"....
Okay, you've identified the problem....
....and recommended a multi-year plan to improve accuracy and usefulness of agency records.
....and your recommended "solution" is more of the problem.
Forgive me, Miss Halliday, but did it ever occur to you that maybe so many VA healthcare applications being incomplete and incorrectly filled out and deleted, etc. isn't just due to incompetence but, perhaps and perchance, malevolence as well? That it could, in some cases, have been done deliberately in order to cover up and bury other incompetence? That your investigation - which you can't even complete conclusively because the records are so completely botched - is just the tip of an unimaginable and horrifically larger iceberg?
Of course she doesn't. She works for the VA, after all.
But don't worry, guys and gals, the VA has a silver lining to this dark cloud:
The VA has said it has no way to purge the list of dead applicants, and said many of those listed in the report are likely to have used another type of insurance before they died. [emphasis added]
They think. They hope. Maybe. But we'll never know, now will we?
But privatizing the VA would be "betraying American's veterans".
I think I'm going to be sick.
Good thing I'm not a vet, huh?