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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

The VA by the Numbers

October 15, 2015
Bilirakis Blog

As Vice Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I have seen firsthand the courage, dedication, and sacrifices of our Veterans. I am forever grateful for our nation’s true American heroes and their efforts to keep us safe. That is why I have been devoted to helping our Veterans transition to civilian life. My colleagues and I have worked on legislation to increase Veteran employment opportunities, remove unnecessary barriers, provide resources for a seamless transition into the workforce, and improve access to timely and quality health care for our heroes.

Improving the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been one of our biggest challenges on the committee. There are many areas for reform within the VA, and we are working diligently to ensure that the VA keeps its promises to our Veterans.

Lately, the failures and shortfalls within the VA have been making headlines across the nation. It is clear our work is cut out for us, but our Veterans have earned and deserve better. Here’s a quick breakdown by the numbers:

1.8 millionAmount inappropriately spent to reassign 23 senior executives from fiscal 2013 to fiscal 2015.  More here: Washington Post

307, 000 – Veterans who may have died awaiting care from the VA. More here: CNN

10,000 – Veterans’ records accidentally deleted at a VA center in Atlanta. More here: Dallas Morning News

17 – Approximate amount of months since revelations over the cover-up of long patient wait times at VA facilities were first uncovered. More here: Washington Post

6.3 million – Amount spent on art and consulting services by the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. More here: Washington Post

25 million – Approximate amount spent on vacant or underused facilities. More here: Fiscal Times

These numbers represent just a few of the many major issues in the system. Our Veterans deserve much better.

Our work in Congress continues – next week, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold hearings to address inappropriate use of funds, evaluate VA primary care delivery, and review the VA’s VetSuccess on Campus program.

I look forward to continuing our efforts to ensure the VA is working in the best interest for our Veterans. We must address these flaws and get Veterans the care they deserve.