THE NEW YORK POST – The Department of Veterans Affairs is facing blowback for helping pay out millions of dollars to medical providers who treat illegal immigrants while they are in federal custody — while a backlog of hundreds of thousands of claims from veterans has grown.
The VA’s Austin, Texas-based Financial Services Center (FSC) has been contracted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since 2002 to process reimbursement claims by providers who offer services to detained migrants.
In fiscal year 2022, which ended Sept. 30 of that year, FSC processed 161,538 such claims, with the ICE Health Services Corps (IHSC) paying out an average of $584 — a total of $94.3 million in taxpayer money, according to a July 2023 Department of Homeland Security report on “Healthcare Costs for Noncitizens in Detention.”
In the previous fiscal year, 2021, ICE’s health care arm budgeted more than $74 million for the VA’s FSC to assist with “outside referral care” and “medical claims processing,” according to a report from July 2022.
Meanwhile, the pile of benefit claims by veterans and their families awaiting adjudication has grown to 417,855, according to the VA’s own website — up from around 150,000 as of late 2022.
When contacted by The Post, the VA was adamant that the veteran claims backlog and the millions of dollars doled out to migrant health care providers were not related.
“VA does not provide or fund any health care to ICE detainees,” VA spokesman Terrence Hayes told The Post.
“This involves no more than 10 employees and is fully funded by ICE. This has no impact [on] veteran care or services,” Hayes added. “At no time are any VA health care professionals or VA funds used for this purpose.”
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