We need rigorous training for frontline staff determining eligibility for health & other benefits. The VA has strict procedures for determining eligibility including what documents are acceptible. However, at least in our VISN (12), review of eligibility seems to indicate sloppy procedures. E.g. 1 pt alone who is NOT EVEN A VET was seen at least as early as 1997 on a HUMANITARIAN EMERGENCY status. Once in the system, everyone just seems to assume he's an eligible vet. In the past 12 yrs alone in VISN12, he's been INPT psych at least 30 times; since he travels, he may also have been treated in other VISNs. THIRTY INPT STAYS. How much money is THAT? We need more rigourous training for ALL staff, but especially frontline/admission/eligibility staff on eligibility requirements. The procedure might also include a routine QUALITY ASSURANCE REVIEW of all treated persons to make sure procedures are being followed. Then once it's determined a person isn't an eligible vet, electronic records should have a HUGE OBVIOUS NATIONAL FLAG reflecting that so no more benefits are provided when none are due.
I would also add that many but not all ineligible persons are criminals who know how to scam the system and/or INTIMIDATE STAFF in order to get what they want. The government should PROSECUTE any ineligible persons who have fradulently obtained benefits for which they are not entitled.