Updated:ATLANTA, Ga. —
Concerns continue surrounding medical care for veterans, as more cases of malpractice come to light.
"I knew I was right," Veronica Boritz, the wife of a veteran, said. "I'm glad it's all coming out."
Bortiz’s husband Bill died following a procedure at the Atlanta Veterans’ Association Medical Center, which she said put a hole in his heart. Boritz sued the federal government for malpractice. After a years-long battle, she agreed to a six-figure settlement.
"For me, I was trying to prove a point,” she said.
An investigation by Channel 2 Action News found that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shelled out nearly $1 billion in taxpayer money to settle thousands of malpractice claims and payoff judges since 2001.
As the VA inspector general works to confirm the fallout from a growing number of facilities across the country who attempted to cover up their long delays for care, local attorney Jess Davis said she foresees a flood on oncoming malpractice claims.
"I think, unfortunately, you could have attorneys who advertise for these cases who see easy or potentially quick money," Davis said.
Davis said this creates a long list of cases waiting to be evaluated.
"Potentially, could non-viable claims be paid out just to get them through the process? Certainly," she said.
That could cost taxpayers even more money, Davis said, while serious claims like Boritz's could begin to weaken on a mushrooming list.
"I think anytime you overwhelm a bureaucracy, an administrative system, you don't know what you're going to get.”
Unlike in private health system, before the patients or their families can sue VA, they have to file a claim with the agency first.