By Katie Drummond
The paucity of quality healthcare for American veterans is a problem that the federal government seems ill-equipped to solve. Now, a non-profit is stepping in, offering a 21st-century solution that might very well whip that care into shape. Or, at least, pinpoint exactly where it’s falling short.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) last week received a grant from the Knight Foundation to fund the creation of a digital database designed to track, in real-time, the gaps in health services and the wait times for veterans seeking assistance — from psychotherapy to physical exams — across the country.
“We want to keep the VA accountable,” Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA’s executive director and himself a veteran, tells me. “Veterans are waiting too long to get even the most basic exams and services. And somebody needs to keep an eye on that.”
Indeed, the wait times for veterans across the country continue to worsen. A report from the VA’s Office of the Inspector General (IG), published in April, blasted the VA not only for lengthy time gaps between appointments, but for grossly understating just how bad those gaps were.
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