Veteranclaims’s Blog

May 19, 2011

VAOIG Report Number 11-00510-167, Systemic Errors at Multiple RO’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — veteranclaims @ 5:39 pm

Excerpt:
“We projected that VARO staff did not correctly process 23 percent of approximately 45,000 claims. We also found weaknesses associated with processing Notices of Disagreements for appealed claims, correcting errors identified by VBA’s Systematic Technical Accuracy Review Program, ensuring timely and complete Systematic Analyses of Operations, and processing claims-related mail.”

Report Summary
Systemic Issues Reported During Inspections at VA Regional Offices

Report Number 11-00510-167, 5/18/2011 | Full Report (PDF)at above link

The Office of Inspector General established its Benefits Inspection Program in March 2009 as a major initiative to help ensure timely and accurate delivery of veterans’ benefits and services. This report is a summary of systemic issues identified at 16 VAROs inspected from April 2009 to September 2010. We did not inspect all operational activities at each VARO. VARO management teams face multiple challenges in providing benefits and services to veterans. Challenges include providing additional oversight and training for personnel responsible for processing disability compensation claims related to temporary 100 percent disability evaluations, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, herbicide-related disabilities, and Haas cases. We projected that VARO staff did not correctly process 23 percent of approximately 45,000 claims. We also found weaknesses associated with processing Notices of Disagreements for appealed claims, correcting errors identified by VBA’s Systematic Technical Accuracy Review Program, ensuring timely and complete Systematic Analyses of Operations, and processing claims-related mail. Additionally, VARO staff did not always safeguard veterans’ personally identifiable information or make timely final competency decisions for beneficiaries unable to manage their affairs. As a result of the 16 inspections, we made 86 recommendations to improve VARO operations regarding the systemic issues addressed. VARO Directors concurred with all of the recommendations. We further recommend the Acting Under Secretary for Benefits revise the policy on evaluating residuals of Traumatic Brain Injuries and provide training to medical examiners conducting traumatic brain injury medical examinations to ensure compliance with current examination requirements. We also recommend the Acting Under Secretary develop a clear and measurable standard for timely completion of competency determinations. The Acting Under Secretary for Benefits concurred with our recommendations. Management’s planned actions are responsive and we will follow up as required on all actions.

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