The Issues Arising From the Department of Veteran Affairs
Victor N. Ijoma
Texas Southern University
The issue of veteran’s affairs is a very important aspect to who we are as a nation. There are thousands of men and women who put on uniforms to go and defend our rights thousands of miles away, they have fought to make our dreams of living free and equal a reality and I believe we owe them the least of caring for them when they return home. The situation currently going on in the Department of Veterans Affairs is a nightmare, veterans being denied care, not being able to receive adequate support when they come home is a national disgrace to us. The effect of not being able ...view middle of the document...
As Peter Schuck has pointed out, the root of this problem is more with Congress than anyone else. Congress has jumped whenever veterans' groups say so, and that has included defining disabilities that can receive compensation far more broadly and generously than is affordable. This has left the agency swamped with claims. When people inside the VA pointed out that we now have 150,000 veterans receiving bundles of money for sleep apnea—not exactly a service-related disability—Congress shrugged. That is money that could be spent dealing with real and deep problems. When Congress tried to create new medical centers to respond to the demand, Republicans in Congress refused to fund them. Congress has created the rules that make it virtually impossible to fire or discipline employees—not just a VA problem, of course—and has failed to do the kind of vigorous oversight that would have uncovered these problems much earlier, and resulted in congressional actions (National journal, 2014).
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs handles three major categories for America's veterans:
1. Medical care for Veterans
2. Benefits for Veterans
3. Burials/memorials for Veterans
Understanding the limitation caused by funding for veterans, has contributed to the lackluster treatment being provided by the VA department. The problem in helping veterans find the much needed help they require in the United States, has underscored the need for physicians, politicians, and advocacy groups to function appropriately.
Medical Care for Veterans
We will take a closer look at the medical system, the target of the report and allegations, and benefits system, which has been plagued by a significant backlog for years. Reports of problems have been dogging the VA for years, as have calls for fixing the system (Zezima, 2014).
According to an online source, CNN reported on April 30, 2014 that at least 40 United States Armed Forces veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix, Arizona, Veterans Health Administration facilities. By June 5, 2014, Veterans Affairs internal investigations had identified 35 veterans who had died while waiting for care in the Phoenix VHA system. An investigation of delays in treatment throughout the Veterans Health Administration system is being conducted by the Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General, and the House has passed legislation to fund a $1 million criminal investigation by the Justice Department. On May 16, 2014, the Veterans Health Administration's top health official, Dr. Robert Petzel, retired early at the request of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. On May 30, 2014, Secretary Shinseki resigned from office amid the fallout from the controversy. As of early June 2014, several other VA medical centers around the nation have been identified with the same problems as the Phoenix facility, and the investigations by the VA Inspector General, the Congress and others are widening.
An internal VA...