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Sean Kendall

New IAVA Report Dissects the VA Claim Backlog Problem


Posted on Feb 13, 2014

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) recently released a review of the Veterans Administration (VA) backlog of veteran’s medical claims entitled “The Battle to End the Veterans Administration Backlog,” by Jacqueline Maffucci, PhD. This report deftly describes the immense backlog of 700,000 veterans waiting for their medical benefit claims to be reviewed by the VA, a 378 day wait on average, as a national problem. The VA has recognized this problem and made strides in 2013 to remediate it, but after reading the IAVA report you may agree that the VA has been addressing their backlog problem in a patchwork fashion and public scrutiny is justified.
 
The IAVA report concisely outlines the VA backlog problem to date. The author then pinpoints why the backlog has reached such chronic levels into four categories; collecting evidence, advancing automation, improving accuracy, and anticipating future needs.  The apparent lack of cohesive planning for the medial needs of future veterans is especially problematic.
 
The VA has indicated over and over again that they have made significant strides to address the veteran medical claim backlog. Oddly there are no standards in place to measure the effectiveness of the meager few initiatives taken by the VA in 2013. For example, the VA had staff members, who were assigned to work on appeals, reassigned to work on backlogged claims. So while the VA backlog problem is partially addressed in this scenario it can be noted that the number veterans waiting for their appeals will now be waiting even longer. Currently there are 265,000 veterans who have been waiting about 4 years to have their appeals decided upon.
 
This report makes clear that our country is not fulfilling her responsibility to our disabled vets. Please take some time to read the report, I think that you will find that the common sense recommendations for change made by the IAVA heartening. Fortunately many of the major news outlets have been reporting on the VA backlog and with the analysis provided by this IAVA report more political pressure should be applied onto the VA to address their backlog problem in a deliberative and sustainable manner.
 

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