Independent Budget Seeks $73 Billion for VA Healthcare.
Each year, four major Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) issue a proposed budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This year, VSO’s seek $73 billion for VA healthcare for 2015 – more than $6 million above what VA spent last year.
Overall, when cemeteries, administrative support, plus all types of benefits (disability, education, insurance, etc.) are included, VA’s total proposed budget for 2015 is nearly $164 billion.
Stars & Stripes newspaper recently reported that VSO’s do not believe the federal government will meet veterans’ healthcare and benefits needs in the coming years, and that tens of billions of dollars in additional spending will be needed to adequately address the issue. A top priority remains VA’s claim appeal backlog, especially VA’s growing inventory of claim appeals.
Citing some recent improvements, VSO’s urged VA to improve disability claim processing quality: “In order to sustain any progress made with the new [computer] systems and organizational models … [VA] must continue to make the changes to its work culture so that quality and accuracy are the cornerstones of all their activities.”
The four VSOs who lead the Independent Budget – AMVETS, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Disabled American Veterans – also pressed VA to improve employee training at the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the agency within VA that processes Veterans’ disability benefit claims: “VBA must continue to invest in the training and professional development of its workforce.”
As we’ve mentioned in our prior Bergmann & Moore blogs, poor VA quality remains a very serious problem, with VA’s error rates as high as 55 percent, according to The American Legion.
To learn more details about VA’s spending, read the New York Times.