Health applications from veterans languished, whistleblower says

A VA whistleblower from Atlanta plans to tell Congress tonight that thousands of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan had their applications for VA health care access languish at the national Health Eligibility Center (HEC) in DeKalb County, according to a copy of his testimony obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Whistleblower Scott Davis will tell the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs that as many as 40,000 unprocessed health applications were discovered by HEC last year, primarily from veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. His testimony is part of a Congressional hearing focused on VA whistleblower complaints and retaliation they've faced within the agency.

The HEC oversees enrollment and eligibility for veterans seeking to enter the VA health system nationwide. Last month, Davis told investigators with the VA inspector general's office about mismanagement within the agency. Investigators are looking into allegations that more than 10,000 health applications from veterans may have been improperly purged from the HEC data system.

The AJC reported Davis' story in an exclusive June 29. Just days after the article, he was contacted by the committee about testifying at tonight's hearing. Other VA whistleblowers in the HEC office and in the Atlanta area have also contacted Davis since the AJC's article ran.

Davis said one of those tipsters alerted him to the 40,000 unprocessed applications discovered in January 2013. He said the center is supposed to process applications within five days after they are received, but some of the 40,000 had been sitting for three years.

Davis also plans to highlight the leaks and retaliation he experienced as a whistleblower and he will mention other whistleblowers from Atlanta who want members of Congress to hear their stories.

Tonight's hearing starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Web at:

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