- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Can’t hear you now! VA leaves vets waiting weeks for hearing aids
Question of the Day
The Veterans Affairs Department is taking weeks to provide or repair hearing aids for its patients, leaving hearing-impaired veterans at risk in the latest failure by the agency charged with caring for America’s war heroes.
The VA has promised to provide hearing aids within five days, but the agency’s inspector general found that the average wait time was between 17 and 24 days. About 30 percent of veterans are waiting 30 days or more, and of those, 10 percent are waiting to have their hearing aids fixed for two months or more, a report released last week found.
VA officials blamed staffing issues for the delays, but investigators actually visited a facility where large numbers of hearing devices were sitting undistributed in boxes and on carts.
Veterans groups are outraged, saying that the delays pose a serious threat to veterans’ safety.
“It’s a safety issue, they are put at risk,” said Gerald Manar, deputy director of National Veterans Service for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “If they cross the street and don’t hear an approaching car anything can happen if you’re not hearing well.”
Other groups have said the waiting periods for new hearing aids and hearing aid repairs is unsatisfactory.
“We do believe that it is unacceptable that veterans are having to wait this long,” said Edward Lilley, a senior field service representative at the American Legion. “The VA needs to meet their own standard.”
Mr. Lilley added that the American Legion plans to reach out to the VA inspector general to follow up on the report and obtain more information.
Investigators said they think that 30 days — 25 days later than the VA’s goal — “allows sufficient time for medical facilities to issue a hearing aid to a veteran who depends on it for their daily activities.”
Inspectors visited the Denver Acquisition and Logistics Center (DALC), which serves as a central processing facility for the VA, and said they observed 19,500 hearing aids backlogged, unopened, sitting on carts and waiting for repairs or replacements.
Part of the reason the agency kept veterans waiting was because staff never recorded when they received the hearing aids or requests for the devices.
“Without a timely recording system, staff cannot adequately respond to or track inquiries from veterans and medical facilities concerning the status of a hearing aid pending repair services,” the IG said in a report released Thursday.
DALC said that five of their 21 technician positions for working on the hearing aids were vacant for much of 2012, and that the repair lab hasn’t been fully staffed since February 2011.
“Medical facilities’ audiology staff attributed the delays to inadequate staffing to meet an increased workload,” the IG said.
Meanwhile, the workload has been steadily ticking upward, with 358,000 repairs of hearing aids in fiscal 2011 and 394,000 in fiscal 2012.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kellan Howell, an investigative reporter for The Washington Times, covers campaign finance and government accountability. Originally from Williamsburg, Va., Kellan graduated from James Madison University where she received bachelor’s degrees in media arts and design and international affairs with a concentration in western European politics.
During her time at JMU, she interned for British technology and business news website “ITPro” ...
- Border service faulted on staffing levels
- GOP report sees ties between rich donors, green 'nonprofits'
- Joan Rivers: CNN should be 'ashamed' of its Israel, Gaza reporting
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- DCCC raising money on suggestion Obama impeachment is imminent
Latest Blog Entries
Phillip Swarts is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times, covering fiscal waste, fraud and political ethics. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and previously worked as an investigative reporter for the Washington Guardian. Phillip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Golden Hammer: Railroad board pays $1B in bogus disability benefit
- U.S. chemical sites vulnerable to terrorists despite millions spent on security: Congress
- Insurgent-allied businesses in Afghanistan eligible for U.S. taxpayer aid
- Ex-Gitmo detainee Moazzam Begg charged with terrorism
- Chicago shooting spree: 22 people shot in 12 hours
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
- House backs faster deportations, cancels 'Dreamer' policy
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors