Death & Dishonor: Crisis at the VA

Congressional chairman says Veterans Affairs 'overwhelmed'

Dina Gusovsky, Segment Producer
A congressional chairman's struggle with the VA
A congressional chairman's struggle with the VA

It's part of Rep. Jeff Miller's job to oversee the institution he says is failing America's former servicemen and women. As chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Miller said he is fed up with how the Department of Veterans Affairs runs its health-care system.

"Unfortunately we are seeing new incidents every single week," the Florida congressman told CNBC. "The VA will tell you these are not systemic problems, but we are finding them across the country."

The department is plagued with issues that only seem to be getting worse—with little or no consequences for those in charge, Miller said, adding that it operates without much regard for the chairman or his oversight committee.

(Read more: Whistleblowers shed light on VA abuse allegations)

"We have been very good about increasing their budget over the last decade, and I think it has made them less careful with the very dollars that we allocate to them via the parties, the videos, the bonuses," he said. "In fact, you can probably look at most every executive within the Veterans Health Administration, and they got a bonus."

Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla.
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

At hearings last year, Miller asked several regional directors from VA hospitals, "How would you feel if your loved one had died, and then you find out the very person who is supposed to be preventing deaths like that receives a bonus?"

The VA declined CNBC's repeated requests for an interview but in a written statement said, "The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to providing the high-quality care that our veterans deserve at its 1,700 facilities nationwide."

The department "operates the largest integrated health-care delivery system in the country," the statement said. "Each year, over 200,000 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) leaders and health-care employees provide exceptional care to approximately 6.3 million veterans and other beneficiaries."

(Read more: Rare disease at hospital raises concerns about VA health care)

Miller has serious concerns about the VA's ability to deal with the results of future wars or armed conflicts.

"I believe that is very true. ... They are so overwhelmed right now," he said. "If we were to have to go to other missions, somewhere around the world, I don't know if VA can handle it."

By CNBC's Dina Gusovsky