Veterans tend to take a dim view of the way they are treated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Due to the scandal at Walter Reed; the VA is now facing tough questions about its health care and the 400,000 pending benefit claims for disabled veterans.
Despite any testimony given to congress as to why the VA is in a state of chaos, many veterans believe they already have the answer. They sum that answer up in six words that seem to be a growing mantra among veterans’ blog sites: Delay, Deny, Hope that I die. They believe that the VA is simply delaying or denying care/benefits to veterans in the hopes that they will just fade away thereby lowering cost to the government.
Although this isn’t the universal view of how the VA bureaucracy functions; can it be discounted?
Is there any real evidence that might support their view? Are the following stories by news services such as the Associated Press (AP), Knight-Ridder News Service, ABC News and sources within the VA proving the veterans right or merely adding fuel to a conspiracy fire?
To take a closer look at this subject, various extracts of relevant news stories and documents are provided below. For the sake of brevity, only partial extractions of the following news stories will be used and links are given to the full stories, where possible.
On health care;
Veteran, suffering from heart condition, dies after showing up to Spokane VA Hospital and is denied treatment. Why, because he arrived at 4:35 pm and the hospital urgent care closes a 4:30.
The Star Tribune (1/27/2007)
Iraq veteran Jonathan Schulze, after suffering from thoughts of suicide requested that the St Cloud VA hospital admit him into their mental health unit. However the veteran is informed that there is a waiting list and that there were 26 other veterans trying to gain access. Jonathan Schulze commits suicide 4 days later.
Times Union (12/5/2006)
Widows sue the VA for wrongful death of veterans who died in a corrupt cancer research program at the Stratton VA Medical Center. Hospital researcher, Paul H. Kornak, posed as a doctor at Stratton, including carrying the title "M.D." on his VA-issued business cards and being introduced to patients as "doctor" even though he never finished medical school. His supervisors knew about his lack of credentials and Kornak was hired even though he had a felony conviction.
The hospital earned thousands of dollars for each patient enrolled in the programs, in which pharmaceutical companies tested new drugs on cancer patients to obtain approval for them from the Food and Drug Administration.
ABC News (4/15/2002)
Chart Check For Gov't Doctors
(AP) More than 100 federal government doctors have been convicted of crimes or disciplined by state medical boards, including one physician now treating veterans who was convicted of helping a terrorist group, an Associated Press review of medical licenses has found.