“……. To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan.” – President Abraham Lincoln
Over the past few years, the government has turned a blind eye to the issues affecting the Department of Veteran Affairs. The apathy of the technologically challenged administration, the increase in backlog of compensation claims, and the slow progress on the expensive joint health record system has added more woes and worries to those who have “borne the battle” for this country. The mistreatment of veterans in need of medical care has recently caught the attention of our nation. In some instances, veterans have been left waiting for up to eight years for proper evaluations or treatment! One such veteran in a Massachusetts facility had only one psychiatric note to his file in his seven-year stay as a patient. Other complaints have reflected not only scandals and lengthy waits, but the use of unsterile equipment for surgeries, falsification of recorded health information, and lack of care and attention for elderly veterans residing in geriatric facilities.
When the troops return home after fighting a war for the nation, they should be served by the Department of Veterans Affairs with the finest facilities in the world and treated within a reasonable time. Instead of healing, America’s Military Veterans are coming home and fighting some of the toughest battles day by day alone. This battle is not being fought with trained military support units, but being fought on papers through claims against the bureaucracy of the Department of VA which is the second largest bureaucracy in the federal government. Even though the soldiers are highly trained to combat enemy forces in the world, they are the weakling when it comes to this “David against Goliath” war.
Although President Obama has expressed outrage about allegations of misconduct at veteran’s hospitals and vowed a forceful response to veteran care issues, much needs to be seen as to what is actually going to be achieved. The newest generation of combat veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan say that the biggest challenge facing their peers is suicide, and the reports reflect the truth in that statement. Some soldiers are reluctant to seek mental health care for fear of being perceived as weak, and if they are entitled to benefits it may be years before they get their disability benefits and compensation.
To date, the VA compensation claims remains a grouse. The issues affecting the lives of all these veterans who served our country need to be taken better care of by the Department of Veteran Affairs.