This report is not surprising. The VA is a vast bureaucracy that ensnares vets in red tape all too often. I can almost guarantee that there are many more than this 1 suicide that can be laid at the feet of Veterans Affairs.
Over the years we’ve chronicled the boneheaded meanderings, the outright crony capitalism, and bullying of many government agencies. And each agency seems to have its own flavor of dysfunction. But Veterans Affairs is a special case. Year after year the agency fails spectacularly. But reforming it is such a massive job no one wants to really take it on. (Trump has made some progress.) The beast keeps living. (Unlike many of the patients within the VA system.)
We should enable veterans to easily exit the VA system. A system that socialized medicine advocates once held up as an example of what we the general population could look forward to. These advocates don’t do this any more.
Consider some of the stories we’ve covered over the years.
Senator to VA: Fire your mental health director (Suicide hotline put veterans on hold, didn’t call back)
And this is just a sample.
A VA inspector general report has found that a New Jersey clinic’s neglect drove one of its patients to commit suicide. Charles Ingram, a Gulf War veteran, had a history of mental health issues. He was supposed to get a series of therapy sessions at the Northfield, N.J., clinic but they never came. The clinic was also supposed to contact him because agency policy mandated they reach out to any patient who had not reached out in a year. They never did…
…After being repeatedly denied an appointment, a desperate Ingram doused himself in gasoline in front of the clinic in March 2016.