University of the District of Columbia Law Review


David A. Boyer


The desire to compensate veterans predates the establishment of the United States (“U.S.”). In 1636, individuals with disabilities received pensions for defending the Plymouth colony against Native Americans.1 Throughout history, this practice continued, as documented by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”).2 By 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed the Executive Order 5398, which created the Veterans Administration.3 Prior to President Hoover’s signing of that executive order, the available veteran services were divided by three separate governmental agencies: the Veterans’ Bureau, the Pensions Bureau, and the Soldiers’ Home.4 Consequently, that executive order combined all three agencies into one that concentrated and streamlined the available services for veterans.5 By 1988, that agency elevated to a cabinet-level position and renamed the VA.6 The VA is comprised of three administrations: Veterans Health Administration (“VHA”), Veterans Benefits Administration (“VBA”), and National Cemetery Administration (“NCA”).7 This article analyzes the VHA because it is the largest administration of the three. Additionally, this article addresses the inadequacies of the VHA due to excessively long wait times and the neglect and abuse towards veterans. Examples will be used to show how the oversight mechanisms have failed. Lastly, this article addresses alternative solutions to ensure that veterans receive quality care through the extension of authority, which addresses the funding of the existing Protection and Advocacy system that has been effective under similar circumstances.

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