facebook linkedin twitter

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Denounce VA’s COVID Response

January 6, 2021 by Reece Nations
U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. (Photo by Dan McCue)

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America CEO Jeremy Butler issued a statement Tuesday condemning Department of Veterans Affairs officials in response to the administration’s handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Butler’s statement was released in response to a MilitaryTimes report revealing the VA’s death totals due to COVID-19 have now surpassed those of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. Officials reported 6,929 known cumulative deaths among COVID-19 patients who have been tested or treated at VA facilities as of Jan. 5, according to the VA coronavirus report dashboard

In comparison, the Department of Defense records indicate 6,756 military casualties during Operation Enduring Freedom from 2001 to 2014 and Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2010, according to the Military Times.

“The VA’s continued lack of leadership and proactive communication to the national veteran community as the COVID-19 pandemic only worsens is both shocking and representative of this administration’s lackluster approach to the crisis,” Butler’s statement on behalf of IAVA read. “This is obviously a national crisis and one that extends far beyond the veteran community.” 

The statement continued, “But the effects on America’s veterans are emblematic of the deteriorating situation and also indicative of where a well-led Department of Veterans Affairs could be contributing to the national recovery. Those hardest hit by the pandemic are elderly, those in nursing homes, those with co-morbidities and minorities – all demographics that are widely represented by the nation’s veteran community.” 

In total, casualties from coronavirus have amounted to 23 deaths a day among veterans since the first month of the pandemic, according to the Military Times. Deaths from coronavirus among veterans have overtaken deaths from suicide, which equate to roughly 17 deaths a day among the United States’ veteran population. 

Around 60% of VA coronavirus patient deaths occurred in other medical centers not connected to the VA health system or while being taken care of at home, according to the report. CDC estimates indicate 352,464 U.S. citizens have died from coronavirus nationwide as of Jan. 5. 

The VA is the country’s largest integrated health system with more than 9 million enrolled veterans and over 6 million veterans annually receiving health care, according to the VA website. Officials also announced the administering of coronavirus vaccines to over 50,000 health care employees and over 5,000 veterans in community living centers as of last week. 

“With 170 VA Medical Centers and more than a thousand health care facilities of various sizes across the country, VA is in a uniquely powerful position to be a leader in meeting the challenges of this pandemic and providing Americans with the support it needs,” Butler’s statement continued. “But that requires putting the country first, rejecting junk science, and providing honest, clear guidance to the public.” 

The statement continued, “IAVA looks forward to working directly with the VA and President-Elect Biden’s administration as they prioritize addressing the pandemic and providing our veterans with the services they earned through their service to our country.” 

Veterans

November 17, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
House Panel Seeks Better Interventions To Prevent Veteran Suicides

WASHINGTON — The heartrending subject of veteran suicide was again front and center on Capitol Hill Wednesday as a House... Read More

WASHINGTON — The heartrending subject of veteran suicide was again front and center on Capitol Hill Wednesday as a House panel heard one heartbreaking story after another about young people who placed themselves in harm’s way for their country only to return home and take their... Read More

November 10, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Congress Seeks to Serve More Food to Veterans Who Served the US

WASHINGTON — Navy veteran Tim Keefe told a congressional panel Wednesday about how he was willing to give his life... Read More

WASHINGTON — Navy veteran Tim Keefe told a congressional panel Wednesday about how he was willing to give his life for his country when he enlisted in the military. After he left the Navy, he had trouble finding a sandwich to eat. He suffered a job... Read More

November 10, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
How the Mission Act is Negatively Impacting Veteran Access to Health Care

WASHINGTON — The Mission Act was launched in 2019 to protect veterans' access to health care, but now health policy... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Mission Act was launched in 2019 to protect veterans' access to health care, but now health policy experts are finding that the legislation may actually be preventing access. “Veterans who need to go to [into] the community are not getting care, or getting... Read More

November 10, 2021
by Kate Michael
Public Given Rare Access at Centennial for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

WASHINGTON — It hasn’t happened in close to one hundred years and isn’t likely to ever happen again, but for... Read More

WASHINGTON — It hasn’t happened in close to one hundred years and isn’t likely to ever happen again, but for two full days in advance of Veteran’s Day, the public has been invited to approach the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  A Centennial Commemoration for the... Read More

May 25, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
Texas Approves Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Study for Veterans with PTSD

AUSTIN, Texas-- In Texas this week, a bipartisan bill to develop a study on the use of psychedelic therapy to... Read More

AUSTIN, Texas-- In Texas this week, a bipartisan bill to develop a study on the use of psychedelic therapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate.  “We are losing over 20 veterans a day to suicide in the United States.... Read More

December 10, 2020
by Dan McCue
IAVA Celebrates Senate Passage of Landmark Women Veterans Legislation

WASHINGTON - The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America on Thursday cheered Senate passage of the Deborah Sampson Act, which... Read More

WASHINGTON - The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America on Thursday cheered Senate passage of the Deborah Sampson Act, which directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out the three-year pilot program to assess how best to provide assistance to women veterans. The pilot program,... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top