FOIA helps journalists show problems at VA go back years

Current headlines describing backlogs and long wait times at Veterans Affairs clinics are nothing new to the journalists who have used FOIA to document them.

In 2005, Knight Ridder reporters Chris Allen and Alison Young documented lengthy backlogs of benefits claims, delaying medical treatment for many veterans. Their experience was also a case study in shortcomings in the way agencies implement their FOIA obligations. McClatchy also used FOIA to obtain every medical appointment in the VA system in 2005 — some 200 million records. In 2007, Veterans for Common Sense used FOIA to show a big influx of benefits claims from soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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