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Friday, Feb. 23
The Indiana Daily Student

Department of vulnerable veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been through the ringer.

After the monumental revelation that the VA’s records had been fudged and that a large percentage of veterans were receiving little to no medical care, many feel that it is now imperative to protect those who have protected us.

In recent reports it has been revealed that as many as 1,000 veterans might have died because of ?malpractice.

At a congressional hearing, Gina Farrisee, the VA assistant secretary for human resources and administration, confirmed that 78 percent of VA senior managers qualified for extra pay or other compensation.

Meanwhile, the VA simultaneously shelled out millions in legal settlements, despite malpractice controversies and reports of delayed health care.

On top of all that, Pauline DeWenter, a scheduling clerk at the Phoenix VA office, has come forward within the past week and has revealed someone above her has been changing VA ?documents.

She was often in charge of marking a veteran as ?deceased.

More often than not she would call to schedule a patient only to find the person had died while on the ?waitlist.

“Deceased” notes had disappeared. They had been written over and the patient marked as alive, all to make the VA statistics look better.

DeWenter was never notified of the changes, or given an explanation.

If they are lucky and healthy, a veteran will go on to live a productive and meaningful life.

But the vast majority of veterans find themselves stuck with mental problems and physical injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or missing limbs, and forced to go on government programs that clearly take advantage of the situation.

We’ve all seen a homeless man on the corner, his sign proclaiming he is a veteran of the United States, now out on the streets.

Imagine how terrible that would be, especially if you were suffering from a physical or mental issue.

More disturbing, DeWenter’s story is proof of this deliberate mismanagement and gross oversight.

When the story initially broke, there was some doubt as to whether or not the VA had actively forced veterans to wait, or if it was the organic result of systematic problems within the department.

Now it not only seems the VA was aware of these illegal activities, but also were actively encouraging it in order to prevent investigation and, given the state of some senior managers’ salaries, for money.

This scandal allows us to engage with our government by pinpointing specific problems and working toward overall change.

Regardless of your political ideology, I think we can agree that government corruption is a pretty terrible thing.

And hopefully these revelations will allow us to ensure the government does not take advantage of ?vulnerable groups.

It seems like that should be obvious.

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