VA announced today it will extend the healthcare enrollment application period for one year to approximately 545,000 living Veterans that have pending incomplete enrollment applications.

“Fixing the Veterans enrollment system is a top priority for VA. This is an important step forward to regain Veterans’ trust and improve access to care as we continue the MyVA Transformation,” said VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson. “We’ve got a lot of work left to do, but this is a big step in the right direction to restore the data integrity of our enrollment system,” Gibson said.

The National Enrollment Improvement team conducted a detailed analysis of the pending applications in VA’s enrollment system and identified approximately 545,000 living Veterans whose applications were incomplete and in a pending status.  The team also validated that approximately 288,000 pending enrollment system records were for deceased Veterans. VA has segregated deceased records from living Veteran records and, as part of the Veteran Enrollment Rework Project (VERP), will review each incomplete application to determine if any should have been enrolled in VA health care.

VA is required by law to provide notice to Veterans of incomplete applications. The VERP team could not verify that VA’s mailing system used to contact Veterans about their incomplete applications was able to notify the 545,000 Veterans identified above. 

VA will contact living Veterans to confirm their continued interest in enrolling in VA health care and ask them for the necessary information to complete their application.  Veterans will have one year from the notice to provide this information.  After a year, VA will close the record.  A Veteran may reapply for enrollment at any time.

As  Veterans choose to enroll, VA offers an enchancement to their enrollment experience through “Welcome to VA” (W2VA).  Veterans enrolled since July 1, 2015, have received a personal introduction to VA health care services, programs and resources to help them become more familiar with VA’s services. In addition, VA sends each new enrollee an introductory letter and personalized handbook in the mail. W2VA enhances communication by reaching out to newly enrolled Veterans through personal phone calls upon enrollment, providing assistance with health care inquiries and assisting with their initial appointment at their preferred VA healthcare facility.


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Published on Mar. 7, 2016

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One Comment

  1. John J. Loftus 2457 March 12, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    how about extending the time for us Vietnam Era vets who were falsely told by the VA that our medical records were burned up in the St. Louis fire? I have been asking for more than forty years for a copy of my Walter Reed hospitalization records. I still have not received them.

    see background note below:

    John J. Loftus 2457 March 11, 2016 at 4:41 pm Reply
    Please understand that my gripe is only with the VA bureaucrats who repeatedly fail to hire enough specialty doctors while paying themselves huge bonuses for depriving us of timely medical care. Most of the medical staff at Bay Pines VA are great. My primary care doctors and nurses are superb. But consulting doctors in specialist clinics were erratically staffed or non-existent.

    The National VA’s Inspector General refused to investigate my complaints concerning the lack of medical care. Several years ago, I wrote to the Justice Department to compel the VA to investigate the issue of delays, among other things. The National Patient Advocate’s office sent the order to investigate delays in my medical care down through the Patient Advocate system. After it got to the Patient Advocate’s Office at the Bay Pines VA, the order simply disappeared. The head of the Bay Pines Patient Advocate office had no clue that his own staff had destroyed the file.

    I have learned that the bureaucrats at Bay Pines have somehow been taught to enter the computer software “back door” to erase or alter a veteran’s medical files. To this day, digital notes attached by my nurses to my medical files sometimes just disappear. It makes it easy for VA staff to claim they were never copied or informed. This kind of criminal violation of HIPPA is very easy to prove: all medical software provided by the National VA has a hidden key stroke recorder to show exactly what was changed and by whom.

    The VA’s National Inspector General wrote back to me that the “alleged” illegal alteration of veterans digital medical records (even if it was being done at many VA hospitals across the country) was not even worth investigating.

    While our nation commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the Vietnam Conflict, we should also recall that the VA bureaucrats of those earlier times falsely told most Vietnam vets that they could not even apply for VA Disability benefits because their military medical records had been destroyed in a fire at the St. Louis Archives. In fact, all Vietnam era files from 1964 onwards remain untouched. Only a few records in 1962 and 1963 were singed, but 99% of all Viet Nam era military medical records are still intact at the St. Louis archives.

    This phony fire story, whether through negligence or laziness, deterred almost an entire generation of veterans from ever applying for medical benefits. No wonder the suicide rate for Viet Nam era veterans has been so high. They never got benefits, so never got treatment. It meant less work for the VA bureaucrats though, and it seems that is all that counts.

    I am glad to see that the VA is finally emphasizing CPAP issues. It has taken the lives of many vets. My sleep disorder was misdiagnosed by two VA hospitals back in the eighties until one of the techs told me that the doctor did not know what he was talking about and I should see a private physician who specializes in nothing but CPAP. I did, and the private sleep study showed I had been suffering from severe apnea requiring the highest CPAP level: fifteen pounds of pressure. For many years, the VA refused to accept the private sleep study or pay for my CPAP machines. Finally, they did another VA sleep study, confirmed severe sleep apnea, and issued me a medium sized face mask, then a large mask. It was a little better but I still had leaks that woke me up twenty times a night.

    Back to a CPAP private doctor who said I had a very wide face, so none of the VA’s masks would ever fit. He gave me a script for a total face mask like the firefighters use. The VA sleep clinic had never even heard of it, so I had to buy my own mask once again. It was much better but still leaked, and I had a third sleep study once again confirming severe sleep apnea. The tech suggested I try the new Amara View Full Face Mask, large size. This is amazing. It hardly ever leaks, and is extremely quiet and comfortable to wear. Unfortunately, the $36 soft plastic insert wears out rather quickly and needs to be replaced every four months or so.

    The VA sleep clinic refused to see me and sent me a nasty letter. In essence, since I had chosen to take a private doctor’s recommendations, I should stay with him. There is only one VA doctor for 11,000 CPAP patients at Bay Pines VA, Florida. I only met the gentleman once for three minutes more than a decade ago. The CPAP clinic is actually run by his secretaries and a nurse. They are always short-handed. Now that I have turned 65, I am trying to get medicare to pay for my masks.

    My fellow veterans and I deserve at least minimum levels of medical care. The primary care doctors and nurses are great, but the VA pays so little that the specialty clinics often have too few doctors or none at all. The Bay Pines administration is on record that they dislike the Congressional mandate to send veterans to outside doctors if we have to wait more than thirty days for an appointment at the VA.

    Thirty days? Sometimes at Bay Pines VA, I have had to wait for years. The last ENT doctor quit years ago and was not replaced until 2016. I am a 100% service connected, permanent and total, disabled veteran. My face was smashed in an Army parachute accident, and I was hospitalized for months at Fort Benning but the surgeries had to be done over at Walter Reed. I may hold the record for most ENT surgeries (27) and receive the maximum service connected disability for severe sinusitis (50%).

    I used to receive quarterly ENT appointments, but the ENT clinic at Bay Pines VA went for more than four years without any ENT physician at all. In 2015, I put my foot down and demanded the VA send me to an outside ENT physician under the new Congressional program for victims of VA delays. It took some fighting, but I finally got to see an actual ENT doctor. She said I had to have emergency surgery. The polyps had grown so large that they were obstructing drainage. If this persisted, I could develop a serious infection. I had been warned of the risk of Osteomyelitis at Walter Reed.

    I asked the VA to clear me as medically fit for emergency ENT surgery, but they took no action. I had to pay a private doctor to order the EKG, labs, etc. which I also paid for privately. I went ahead with the ENT surgery which indeed uncovered extensive and deep rooted areas of infection. We had caught it just in time. It was indeed an emergency.

    Then the VA refused to pay the doctor they themselves had selected for me. Bay Pines VA falsely told the federal VA clearing house that I was not 100% disabled, had no sinus disability, and omitted that the local VA had been notified of the surgery well in advance. I guess they wanted to punish me for using the Congressional program. I just got a bill for more than $6,000 for “non-emergency” surgery that had not been cleared in advance. The VA Federal Clearing Center said that since I was neither service connected for sinuses (untrue) nor was 100% disabled (I was) then I will have to pay the $6,000 towed to the ENT surgeon and the hospital out of my own pocket.

    Oh, and they continue to refuse to pay for my CPAP equipment.

    I am still proud that I volunteered to serve my country in time of war, and volunteered for hazardous duty parachute training. As OCS class President and Honor Graduate, the Pentagon offered me a regular army commission and choice of assignments if I stayed in service. A few years later, I finished law school and worked at Justice Department HQ under the Attorney General of the United States’ Honors Program. The Army wrote me that they would triple promote me from First Lieutenant, Infantry to Lt. Colonel, JAG if I came back.

    The reason I declined both offers was the same: I could not trust that I would receive adequate medical care. The government has never kept its promise to disabled veterans: malpractice was the medical standard of care for veterans of the Viet Nam Era. I feel so sorry for our wounded kids coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers of this generation do not deserve what they are about to receive from the VA. Neither did we.

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