While the VA is required by law to contact veterans about incomplete health care applications, the agency reportedly failed to do so, in the case of tens of thousands of veterans who had pending claims.
According to military.com, the VA could not verify that it had notified 545,000 living veterans and 288,000 deceased veterans with pending claims.
For the past two years, Matthew Eitutis has been in charge of the VA’s Health Resource Center, which operates centers that field hundreds of thousands of calls each day from veterans or family members seeking information on issues such as benefits.
Eitutis, a retired Air Force major, has been with the VA for 8 years. He was the one who oversaw the months-long VA analysis of the enrollment failings and says tens of thousands of veterans never received a follow-up inquiry about their applications.
While the VA is currently working to overhaul its flawed system, right now, certain applications are automatically listed as “incomplete” because of a problem with the computer software.
Whistleblower, Scott Davis, first reported this issue with pending applications. He says most of them were “erroneously marked as incomplete” because they called for an income test or were missing the DD214, which the VA specifically told applicants not to include.
The problem is the VA doesn’t have the legal authority to simply override the system and enroll veterans affected by those technicalities. Eitutis said. So instead, he says, the VA will be reaching out to these vets by phone and mail — and some will likely qualify for compensation.
Eitutis admits: “We have not done what we should have done for years.”
Congressman Jeff Miller, (R-FL) says the leaders who are responsible for this breakdown in the enrollment system must be disciplined. “While I’m glad VA is finally doing something to address this problem, I’m baffled as to why it took the department so long to acknowledge it,” Miller said.
“Fixing the veterans enrollment system is a top priority for VA,” VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson said. “This is an important step forward to regain veterans’ trust and improve access to care as we continue the MyVA Transformation.”
There are more than 800,000 veterans who have applications for health care pending, nearly 300,000 of whom died before getting a resolution — according to the report.
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