The Department of Veterans Affairs purged more than 1.5 million medical orders without ensuring patients received medical care, the Washington Examiner reports:
Since May 2013, veterans' medical centers nationwide have been under pressure to clear out 2 million backlogged orders for patient care or services.
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They were given wide latitude to cancel unfilled appointments more than 90 days old. By April 2014, the backlog of what the agency calls "unresolved consults" was down to about 450,000.
What happened to other 1.5 million appointments is something that no one, including top officials at the veterans’ agency, can answer.
A review by the Government Accountability Office of the process VA used to close old consult orders found that poor documentation in patient files and the lack of independent verification made it impossible to know whether patients got care they needed before their medical orders were canceled.
The VA is currently embroiled in scandal after news investigations revealed dozens of veterans, including 40 at a Phoenix VA hospital, died from delays in treatment.
The total number of veterans who have died from delayed treatment is unknown.
The VA released a fact-sheet in April showing 23 veterans had died nationwide from delayed gastrointestinal cancer screenings.
An investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting found the VA has paid out $200 million for nearly 1,000 wrongful deaths since the 9/11 attacks.