WASHINGTON — VA officials said they aren’t trying to hide the total number of veterans in their care who were injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But they are trying to update their systems.
On Friday, a report in the International Business Times noted that VA has likely reached the grim milestone of 1 million injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in their system. But, because updates of VA data on the topic stopped earlier this spring, there’s no way to know for sure.
“All that can be said with any certainty is that as of last December more than 900,000 service men and women had been treated at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics since returning from warzones in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the monthly rate of new patients to these facilities as of the end of 2012 was around 10,000,” the report said.
“Beyond that, the picture gets murky. In March, VA abruptly stopped releasing statistics on non-fatal war casualties to the public.”
VA officials insist there is nothing nefarious about the data disappearance.
“Some VA reports on OIF/OEF veterans have been delayed while enhanced data security measures were implemented,” they said in a statement. “Those measures are complete, and we anticipate releasing the next OEF/OIF/OND health care utilization report within the next few weeks.”
A spokesman for the department issued a similar statement to the International Business Times, but did not offer a timetable for the data’s return.