The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which has struggled to eliminate a backlog of disability claims, is planning to outsource more of the medical exams that are key to determining benefits.
The effort could cost more than $1 billion per year.
The department says such a move could make it easier for veterans in remote areas to be seen, and speed up payouts. But the plan has rattled VA doctors, who say the quality of exams could suffer, leading to more disputes between veterans and the department over payouts.
The exams are often a veteran's first experience with the VA. The department has been pushing to ensure that they are done more promptly as it digs its way...