Got a paperwork backlog? Just feed it into the shredder — problem solved.
Such appears to be the thinking at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The problem is, the reports that got shredded weren’t on the feeding habits of Chicago cockroaches — they were veterans’ vital requests for medical treatment.
Worse yet, in the five days since The Daily Caller first reported on this practice, it’s still going on.
According to The Daily Caller:
Former VA Los Angeles Medical Center employee Oliver Mitchell was instructed to help cancel backlogged veteran medical exam requests during a coordinated process that began at the facility in March 2009. Audio of an internal VA meeting obtained by TheDC confirms that VA officials in Los Angeles intentionally canceled backlogged patient exam requests.
The abuses occurred during a period in which VA offices across the country were “instructed to mass purge” backlogged veteran exam requests, according to an inspector general report obtained by TheDC.
“When the exam request comes to the [facility] we have 30 days to complete. If we go past the 30 days that we’re allowed, those numbers start to count against the agency,” Mitchell told The Daily Caller. “When they cancel an order, they closed the orders on the active file so that it doesn’t count against the numbers…When they close the orders, the patients are not notified nor are the doctors who ordered [the exam] notified. Once it’s closed, it’s closed. It cannot be reopened” — no matter what.
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Once someone has been caught with his hands in the cookie jar, that should be it. The Department of Veterans Affairs, though, would disagree. The VA’s Los Angeles Medical Center appears to still be shredding veterans’ medical requests.
“As you know, my visit to the Regional Office was to prove to the Department of Veterans Affairs that I am, in fact, alive and not deceased,” veteran Richard Sorci wrote to U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., in a letter obtained by The Caller. “That my Veterans file stating that I died on November 20th 2012 is decidedly incorrect.”
Proving one’s very existence should be an important enough reason to schedule an exam. Not at the VA, though. Sorci added:
“Yesterday I asked my caseworker, Mr. Steve Mangum if I received a Determination/Rating from the November 7th examination. I was told that he had no idea and that my file was either deleted or placed in a basement room archive. To my ‘what’s next?’ question Mr. Mangum said that I would receive a letter in about a month scheduling me for another Doctors appointment and that I was basically starting all over again and I should allow 7 to 9 months more to process my claim.”
Marine veteran Jessie Duff told Fox Business News host Gerri Willis (WHEN???) that she’s had a feeling for some time that something was amiss at the VA.
“Veterans have been telling me for as long as I’ve been working at Concerned Veterans for America that they believe that the Veterans Administration would basically, systemically trying to get them to die before they helped them,” she said.
That would certainly clean up the backlog problem.
Watch the exchange via Fox Business News. http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/3262503366001/veterans-medical-records-destroyed-va-employees/#sp=show-clips
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