9/11 first responders’ health care cut back by US department

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Human Services is one of two companies bidding to administer veterans benefits

One of the human service giants that administers medical benefits for some 9/11 first responders has lost a contract as part of a defence cutback programme.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is deciding which companies it will continue with.

Government contracts to manage veterans’ health benefits have long been held up in the US budget battles in Washington DC.

Many studies have shown they are some of the costliest parts of the federal budget.

The VA in May announced plans to find another organisation to handle its health claims, slashing billions of dollars from the running of medical care programmes.

The department had been the subject of scrutiny in the wake of the revelation last year that doctors had been creating bogus appointments in an attempt to make money.

More than 80,000 claims had been processed through a doctor “prescribed clinic”, though claims processing could not be fully confirmed, the VA said.

The department also suffered public criticism in the years after the 9/11 attacks, when tens of thousands of sufferers of the deadly cancer, lung disease and other illnesses had no home or pension and were largely excluded from the help they need.

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