A Department of Veterans Affairs watchdog has revealed the agency performed nearly 20,000 unnecessary medical exams for disabled veterans in 2017, costing over $10 million.
The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) required thousands of veterans to go through “re-examinations” to verify if their disabilities or conditions were still present or had gotten worse, according to Stars and Stripes.
The 25-page report issued by the VA inspector general, Michael J. Missal, states the VBA failed to follow policies that called to only administer re-examinations when necessary.
“While re-examinations are important in the appropriate situation to ensure taxpayer dollars are appropriately spent, unwarranted re-examinations cause undue hardship for veterans,” the report released on Tuesday reads.
The inspector general’s team estimated over 37 percent — or 19,800 out of 53,000 — of patient exams were unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
If the VBA were to continue on this path, the report says they would spend an extra $100.6 million over the next five years.
The report also claims these unwarranted exams created a strain on VA workers, saying they “reduced VBA’s capacity to process benefits claims and the Veterans Health Administration’s capacity to provide health care services.”
Of the 19,800 disabled veterans who underwent such exams, 14,200 of them saw no change to their disability or condition.
The report came out a day before The Washington Post reported the VA reassigned or fired staffers they thought to be disloyal to President Donald Trump and his plans for the organization.
“Under President Trump, VA won’t wait to take necessary action when it comes to improving the department and its service to Veterans,” VA spokesperson Curt Cashour told CNN.
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