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Veteran’s Affairs scandal exposes gaps in care for aging veterans

In order to repair its flagging image, officials with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) held public meetings to speak directly with concerned veterans. The response by vets during the meetings was both candid and critical. As veterans across Texas and the nation wait to voice their concerns, the VA faces tough questions about its level of care.

Among the most criticized issues were the national shortages of qualified primary care medical staff, poor sterilization in VA facilities and improperly read radiology reports. Attendees voiced their concern that the veteran’s benefits they have counted on supply little more than poor medical care, placing aging vets at particular risk.

Long-term care programs such as Medicaid and Veterans Benefits are vital to ensuring medical care to aging populations, with the latter program’s benefits extending towards illness or injury directly related to disabilities incurred during an individual’s service. Since the VA is responsible for managing care for these types of injuries, substandard service is of particular concern to elder law advocates.

As the VA continues to try and regain the trust of America’s veterans through staffing changes and public meetings, disabled vets should monitor the quality of the care that the receive. While the VA is quick to assure vets that nation wide their medical facilities provide the highest quality of care, there are still cases of patients receiving less-than-stellar care. Reports are surfacing nationwide of long waits in receiving medical care and criticism that the VA’s record keeping is faulty and out-of-date.

In the case of elder abuse or fraud, a qualified elder law attorney may be able to help in resolving issues related to Veteran’s benefits. As the problems of the VA illustrate, older Americans continue to need advocates who ensure that they receive the highest level of care.

Source: The New York Times, Veteran’s Affairs officials offer reassurance about troubled hospital,” James Dao, April 3, 2013