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September 02, 2015

Report: 307,000 veterans died awaiting VA health care

Delays continue to impact combat veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq

Health Care Veterans Affairs
041515_VAPhila File/AP

This file photo from June 29, 2009 shows the Philadelphia Veterans Hospital.

A new report issued Wednesday by the Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General revealed that 307,000 veterans in the United States died while awaiting applications for care.

The investigation, spurred by a whistleblower's allegations about mismanagement at the VA's Health Eligibility Center, entailed a review of 800,000 records that had become stalled in the agency's health care enrollment system, CNN reports.

The inspector general also found that as many as 10,000 records may have been deleted in the past 5 years as VA staffers incorrectly marked unprocessed applications.

The report details the findings of a review of applications left in "pending" status long enough for many veterans to die without receiving care to which they were entitled.

According to CNN, the report, though focused on records dating back as far as the 1980s, details issues that continue to affect U.S. servicemen and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, some of whom have lost their 5-year eligibility to receive care due to delays.

In a statement, VA Deputy Inspector General Linda Halliday noted that whistleblowers have been "an invaluable information source" to demand accountability and reform in VA programs.

Read the full report here.