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Understanding the current VA misconduct scandal

The media, the public and numerous members of the federal government have recently been in an uproar about a scandal involving the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This scandal has likely caused such outrage because when an individual suffers injury or illness as a result of military service the general expectation among both the public and the military itself is that this individual will be well cared for. Unacceptably, it seems that this is not always the case.

It seems that misconduct is occurring in numerous veterans hospitals nationwide. According to the New York Times, these facilities serve approximately 230,000 veterans daily and 6.5 million veteran patients annually. However, due to mismanagement, budgetary strain and a host of other factors, many veterans are not being properly treated. Their care is being delayed or is otherwise inadequate.

The scope of the scandal is still being determined. What the public does know is that veterans have died while waiting for medical care. What is unclear is whether or not veterans have actually died as a direct result of delays in their care.

Backlogs in appointments, inadequate data tracking and cover-ups of just how dire the situation has become have all informed the current scandal. The ways in which our nation's veterans are being treated by their healthcare system are unacceptable. The pressing questions that must now be answered include how is this situation going to be remedied so that no other veterans suffer such indignities and how will the government compensate those who have already suffered harm as a result of scandal-related delays and cover-ups.

Source: The New York Times, "History and Context of an Embattled Department of Veterans Affairs," Robert Pear, May 21, 2014

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