The Department of Veterans’ Affairs vast health network — beset by a scandal last year over delayed care — has been listed as a high-risk federal program by congressional auditors for the first time.
The report by the watchdog Government Accountability Office, which is issued every two years, includes a broad indictment of the $55.5 billion VA program, one of the nation’s largest health care systems. USA TODAY obtained the VA section of the report, scheduled for release Wednesday.
The number of aging or disabled veterans treated by the VA has grown to 8.9 million from 6.8 million in 2002, and Congress has increased funding by 85% during that time.
Yet problems with poor health care, delayed doctor appointments and leadership accountability and oversight persist, according to the report. The GAO said it keeps issuing audits identifying problems — eight just last year — but more than 100 areas of mismanagement remain unresolved, according to the report.
Federal agencies or programs are chosen for the high-risk list by the GAO based on such factors as health or safety, delivery of services and incidents of injury or loss of life.