According to Ruzek at all (2012), veterans are individuals who served in the United States armed forces but are no longer in service. The expiry of their services might have been due to an honorable discharge from the military, disability received during military activities and retirement from the services after prolonged service exceeding 20 years, Currently, the federal government offers benefits to these veterans as an honor to their services in protecting American lives. However, veteran benefits may vary from time to time depending or the individual’s eligibility Moreover, in some cases, the spouses and dependents of the servicemen are eligible for certain benefits. However, extending services to these men have been an avenue of scandals and conspiracies since the inception of the veteran bureau in 1921 CNN and other media houses have exposed the plight of veterans in their pursuit of benefits.
Despite their impeccable services in protecting the United States ideologies, some veterans have died on long lines pursuing their benefits. As such, the paper illustrates how the current veteran benefits policies are ineffective while offering recommendations for their improvements to ensure veterans feels the Americans gratitude. Historical Background Veteran history has a troubled history that points to the thesis of the research In the year 1921, the Congress created the Veterans Bureau with core mandate of assisting World War 1 veterans. However, few months after inception, the bureau was awash with corruption scandals leading to eventual abolishment nine years later. Later in the year 1932, veterans and their families were yet to receive the bonuses that they were to receive from the bureau. As such, they gathered in their thousands and matched to Washington demanding for their promised war bonuses.
However, they would accept humiliation and embarrassment as federal troops forcibly removed them from Washington after they failed to end their protest. The shoddy care accorded to our veterans manifested again in 1945 when Veteran Affairs (VA) Administrator, Frank Hines, resigned after what a 2010 report by the Independent Institute termed as shoddy care in VA-run hospitals. The president accepted his resignation as there was enormous pressure coming from the American Legion, who decried inadequate medical services to veterans. In the year 1946, the American Legion leads another charge seeking the removal of the new VA administrator, Gen Omar Bradley. They pointed out that despite the change in the administration of veteran affairs docket, lack of facilities in veteran-run hospitals persisted since the administrator was sleeping on his job.
Consequently, the federal government formed a commission that uncovered enormous wastage of funds, duplication, and inadequate care in VA-run hospitals. In 1974, Ron Kovic, a Vietnam Veteran, lead a 19-day hunger strike at the federal building in Los Angeles, California, Kovic detested poor treatment accorded to veterans in VA hospitals. The veterans in the hunger strike demanded to meet VA director, Donald Johnson, who agreed and flew to California to meet them. However, Johnson demanded the veterans meet him at the VA‘s Los Angeles building but they turned down his requests. Consequently, John received widespread criticism prompting his resignation weeks later. The subsequent investigation unearths numerous shortcoming in patient care, especially for veterans with surgical dressings that were rarely changed .
Additionally, a Chicago Tribune results found out that veterans were getting deprived health care services from VA’s North Chicago hospital in 1991. Occasionally, doctors would ignore some test results, delay treatment to patients, and sometimes conduct unnecessary surgery. Consequently, eight veterans died at the hands of the doctors due to the low quality of care and outright negligence from both the physicians and hospital administration. As a result, most of the hospital’s surgery staff receive suspension letters relieving them of their duties with immediate effect. Besides, in the year 2003, President George Bush received numerous complaints from veterans regarding shoddy care and mistreatment from VA officials.
Accordingly, the president appointed a commission to investigate the claims. in its report, the commission established that about 236,000 as of January 2003 were waiting for over six months for preliminary visits. The committee attributed the poor services insufficient capacity by the relevant bodies due to limited resources. Lastly, in 2009, the VA revelation discloses the apex of pitiable care accorded to veterans after years of services diligent protecting American lives and ideologies, in their report, the VA noted that over 10,000 veterans could have been exposed to a potential viral infection due to poor disinfection of equipment at its facilities. The test results showed that thirty~seven veterans tested positive for the two forms of hepatitis while six victims acquired HIV infections, Two years later, Nine Ohio veterans tested positive for hepatitis after attending routine dental checks at a VA clinic in Dayton, Ohio. During the investigation, the doctor acknowledged that he never washed his hands or changed gloves when serving patients during his 18 years in service.
Numerous studies have made that point to the fact that veteran care in the United States has been of little help to the beneficiaries. The majority of veterans intimates that the current Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment do little to help veterans assimilate with civilians (Singh et al., 2014). During the debating and committee sittings on Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention from American Veterans (SAV) Act of 2014, the deprived services given to PSTD veterans was evident, The bill derives its name from Clay Hunt, who took his life while battling postwar depression and trauma. His frequent trips to VA facilities did little to alter his mental condition Consequently, he was unable to bear the trauma and decided to commit suicide. Before his death, his mother notes that he had voiced constant concerns over challenges he had trying to book an appointment with the doctors and the quality of treatment.
Michael (2014) attributes the low quality of care to poorly trained psychiatrists Currently, VA hospitals do not attract higher quality doctors. As such, the bill offers to repay student loans for high»quality therapists and counselors who secures a job with VA (Singh et al., 2014). Secondly, veterans receive no counseling after leaving the military despite their mental and medical conditions. In a 2015 documentary on Chris Kyle’s life after leaving the military, National Geographic illustrates how poorly the State neglects its veterans. After four years serving as a sniper in Iraq, Chris witnesses the deaths of thousands ofAmerican soldiers to the insurgents Four years later, he leaves the battlefield and returns home to his wife and children, He retires from the military having won two silvers and five bronze stars. However, he receives no psychological counseling, as he was seemingly fine having no injuries and was in an upright mental condition.
However, he starts to find it difficult to live a civilian life resulting to excessive drinking and staying indoors most of the time. Chris situation best exemplifies a national hero at the verge of living a self—destructive life despite serving America diligently. If the state had more concern for its veterans, it should extend sufficient psychological counseling to veterans before releasing them to the general population. As such, they will not have to result in heavy drinking due to after war trauma. Luckily, Chris had the determination of changing his life, He later started a company where he helped former service men deal with battle-related stress and integrate into civilian life. However, his life would come to an untimely end after one of the veterans he was training to recover turned a gun on him and killing him. Similarly, there has been a series of diseases outbreaks in VA-run hospitals pointing to the low-quality medical care accorded to veterans.
In January 2014, CNN reported the death of nineteen veterans at a VA hospital due to delayed diagnosis and treatment. On April 23, 2013, forty veterans also died waiting to see a doctor at Phoenix VA health care system. According to the CNN reporter, the patients were on a secret list meant [0 keep VA officials at Washington in the dark as a recently retired VA doctor disclosed. The Phoenix case is a skeleton representation of the plight that a majority of the veterans face while attempting to access medical services from VA hospitals. Since 1923, scandals has been the order of the day in VA hospitals. However, the state has done little to apprehend the culprits leading to a rotten culture of mismanagement and malpractices in the system. However, the government seems to condone such misdoings, as they appear to recur one after the other. Lastly, the red tape that veterans face while trying to access their benefits depicts the poor services that the United States government accords to veterans.
Aaron Glantz, an investigative reporter with Investigative Reporting, highlights the plight the bureaucracies that veterans face while attempting to access their benefits. After obtaining confidential documents from the department of health affairs in 2010, Glantz notes that over 600,000 veterans from the Iraq war were yet to receive their benefits 273 three days after making their applications for the same. Glantz attributes the delays to understaffing in the department due to limited operation budget allocated to the division by the government. Moreover, the number of specialists meant to attend to sick and injured victims exemplifies poor services that the state confers to former American heroesi Recommendations. There are numerous policy changes that if enacted would improve care accorded to veterans after diligent service in the armed forces First, the Congress should pass a bill leading to the formation of a body of health experts who would occasionally review VA health care system.
If the VA health care system had a professional body to supervise its core mandate, healthcare accorded to veterans would improve. Moreover, the professional organization should require the department to account every dollar to help root out rampant corruption and malpractices witnessed in VA. Secondly, in the light of limited medical personnel in VA hospitals, the organization should be required to enter into an agreement with private physicians. The agreement should outline the type of care that the physicians should extend to veterans and then seek for a refund As such, veterans’ death due to delayed diagnoses and treatment would cease. Moreover, the armed forces should come up with a program where veterans get psychological counseling after they leave service. Learning from Chris‘s life, counseling veterans on how to live civilian life after years of service would avert withdraw signs such as Chris depicted Moreover, the move would contribute to reducing the suicide rate among veterans
Thecounseling sessions should also bring together veterans to meetings where they share their experiences. The sharing sessions would help the veterans know they are not suffering alone hence their desire to live an average life. Lastly, the government should automate veteran’s information database to make it easier for them, and their loved ones access their benefits. If the process were automated, there could have been no backlog of the file as Glantz discovered during his investigation. As such, making follow-up activities on veterans determine their eligibility would be very easy. As such, there will be no delay in accessing individual benefits.