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The V.A. Bought 10,000 iPhones for Veterans. 8,544 of Them Were Never Used.

The U.S. (V.A.) lost nearly $2.4 million on data plans for iPhones and iPads that were supposed to help homeless connect to telehealth services. Ultimately, 85 percent of the iPhones meant to be loaned went unused and remained in storage one year after their purchase, according to a new inspector general’s report.

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the V.A. received $14.4 billion to be used on health services for homeless veterans and those at risk of becoming homeless. A chunk of that money went to the department’s Office of Connected Care, which has loaned communications devices to veterans since 2014 so they can access telehealth services.

Connected Care launched a new program in the summer of 2020 that loans iPhones and iPads, equipped with prepaid 12-month data plans, to veterans. Officials spent $63 million on 80,930 iPads and $8.1 million

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