The Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, has been under some heat as of late. Many veterans have waited for months on end to get treatment from the government-run medical organization, while others have lost their benefits altogether, as they have accidentally been declared deceased.
A new investigation conducted by OpentheBooks.com has found that in spite of all of the demand for medical care from the VA, only one in 11— or 9 percent— of new hires from 2012 to 2015 were “medical officers.”
In total, 39,000 individuals were hired during this time period, only 3,591 of whom were actual doctors. Annual salaries increased by a significant 18.7 percent from 2012 to 2015.
So, if the VA didn’t hire doctors, who did they hire? Two prominent groups that saw an influx in hiring were lawyers and PR specialists, many of whom made six figures.
Other questionable expenditures by the VA include $1.7 million spent on surveys, $751 million spent on furniture, and $303 million designated for individuals in other non-essential positions, such as painters, interior designers, and gardeners.
Overall, 19 percent of the VA’s employees made over $100,000 a year, with an even more select group eclipsing $400,000 a year.
This extravagant spending has caused many to question the VA’s supposed lack of resources. The Secretary of the VA, Robert McDonald, has controversially gone on record to say that the wait times for care should not be perceived to be outweighed by the quality of care.
It is currently believed that 500,000 veterans are awaiting care from the VA. In yet another twist of controversy, VA doctors are believed to only consult with 10 to 12 patients a day, about half the amount of patient seen by doctors in private practices.