(Department of Veterans Affairs)

An arm of the Veterans Affairs Department in Atlanta eliminated 208,272 applications from across the country for health care early this year amid efforts to shrink a massive backlog of requests, saying they were missing signatures or information about military service and income, according to records reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Veterans groups say the VA should have done more to communicate with the veterans before closing their applications, some of which date back to 1998. Troops face additional challenges in applying for VA health care, they said, as they grapple with reentry into civilian life, change addresses following overseas deployments and suffer from combat stress.

In the middle of the controversy is the VA's Health Eligibility Center, the Atlanta office that oversees the process by which veterans seek access to the VA medical system. It and its parent agency have come under intense scrutiny in recent years for mismanagement and delays in providing medical care, presenting a thorny challenge for the administration of President Donald Trump, who focused on veterans' care during his presidential campaign.

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U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Abrey Liggins

In 2009, the Department of Defense introduced the so-called 'Golden Hour' mandate.  This led to the development of systems that ensured the injured warfighter access to surgical care within 60 minutes of injury.

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Naval History and Heritage Command

I showed up an hour early to my post op appointment today.

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Screenshot via YouTube

Substance abuse and mental health issues are on the rise in the military community, and TRICARE — the insurance provider for service members and their families — is announcing it will offer expanded options to help members attack those problems.

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AP Photo/Susan Walsh

A bill to repeal Obamacare has made it through the House, again — and this time, it’s for real. But in their speed to pass a new health care bill for all Americans, House Republicans may have opened a door to screwing 7 million vets out of subsidies that could help them pay for private health care.

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Marines and sailors with Marine Expeditionary Brigade – Afghanistan load onto a KC-130 aircraft on the Camp Bastion flightline, Oct. 27, 2014. U.S. Marine Corps photo

The White House, Department of Veteran Affairs, and members of Congress are moving fast on veterans issues in 2017. They're working on proposals to reform the GI Bill, veterans health care, and the VA appeals process, with support from many of the nation's largest veterans service organizations and nonprofits.

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