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FY 2013 Review of VA’s Compliance With the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act

April 21, 2014 Comments off

FY 2013 Review of VA’s Compliance With the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General

Why We Did This Review
We conducted this fiscal year (FY) 2013 review to determine whether VA complied with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA). VA reported $1.1 billion in improper payments in its FY 2013 Performance and Accountability Report (PAR). The OIG’s assessment of VA’s compliance with IPERA for FY 2013 is based on FY 2012 data as reported by VA.

Report Highlights:
FY 2013 Review of VA’s Compliance With the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act Why We Did This Review We conducted this fiscal year (FY) 2013 review to determine whether VA complied with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA). VA reported $1.1 billion in improper payments in its FY 2013 Performance and Accountability Report (PAR). The OIG’s assessment of VA’s compliance with IPERA for FY 2013 is based on FY 2012 data as reported by VA. What We Found VA met five IPERA requirements for FY 2013 by publishing a PAR, performing risk assessments, publishing improper payment estimates, providing information on corrective action plan s, and reporting on its payment recapture efforts. VA also implemented a new risk assessment process in FY 2013 across all of its programs.

VA did not comply with two of seven IPERA requirements for FY 2013. The Veterans Health Admi nistration reported a gross improper payment ra te of greater than 10 percent for one program and did not meet reduction targets for two programs. This represents an improvement over FY 2012 when VA did not comply with four of the seven IPERA requirements.

Nonetheless, we identified areas for improvement in the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) IPERA reporting. VBA underreported improper payments for its Compensation program. Test procedures for the Compensation program and one Education program also did not include steps needed to identify all types of improper payments.

What We Recommended
We recommended the Under Secretary for Health implement the corrective action plan included in the PAR to reduce improper payments for the State Home Per Diem program, and develop achievable reduction targets for that and Beneficiary Travel programs. We also recommended the Under Secretary for Benefits ensure thorough procedures for testing sample items used to estimate improper payments for the Compensation and Post 9/11 G.I. Bill programs.

Agency Comments
The Under Secretary for Health concurred with Recommendations 1 and 2. We closed Recommendation 2 based on the actions already completed.

The Under Secretary for Benefits partially concurred with Recommendation 3, citing completed actions to enhance Compensation program testing. The Under Secretary did not agree with a need to change the current Education test plan, but proposed an acceptable alternative analysis to determine risk in Education payments. We will follow up on implementation of this action during our next annual IPERA review.

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CRS — Health Care for Veterans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (updated)

April 7, 2014 Comments off

Health Care for Veterans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via University of North Texas Digital Library)

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), operates the nation’s largest integrated health care delivery system, provides care to approximately 5.75 million unique veteran patients, and employs more than 270,000 full-time equivalent employees.

Audit of VHA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program

April 2, 2014 Comments off

Audit of VHA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General

At the request of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Subcommittee on Health, we conducted this audit to determine if the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program grantees appropriately expended program funds. In December 2010, VA established the SSVF program to rapidly re-house homeless veteran families and prevent homelessness for those at imminent risk due to a housing crisis. For fiscal years (FYs) 2012 and 2013, the VHA awarded about $60 million and $100 million in SSVF grants, respectively, and has increased awards to nearly $300 million for FY 2014. We found that VHA’s SSVF program has adequate financial controls in place that are working as intended to provide reasonable assurance that funds are appropriately expended by grantees. We determined program staff were reviewing grantee timecards, invoices for temporary financial assistance, subcontractor costs, and conducted annual inspections. However, SSVF program officials can improve controls to ensure only eligible veterans and their family members participate in the program. We found three of five grantees used outdated area median income (AMI) limits to determine eligibility for the program. In addition, four of five grantees did not verify veterans’ discharge status with the required “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty” (DD 214). This occurred because some grantees were not aware when new AMI limits were published. To avoid delaying program participation, grantees did not always follow up to ensure receipt of the required DD 214 when an interim eligibility document was used. As a result, VHA risks providing SSVF services to ineligible veterans or excluding eligible veterans from the program. We recommended the Under Secretary for Health ensure SSVF program management implements a mechanism to inform grantees when the most current AMI limits are published and ensure grantees comply with eligibility documentation requirements. The Under Secretary for Health concurred with our recommendations and provided an appropriate action plan. We consider the SSVF program actions sufficient and closed the recommendations as completed.

New From the GAO

March 25, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability office

Report

1. Architect of the Capitol: Incorporating All Leading Practices Could Improve Accuracy and Credibility of Projects’ Cost Estimates. GAO-14-333, March 25.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-333
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661902.pdf

Testimony

1. Information Security: VA Needs to Address Long-Standing Challenges, by Gregory C. Wilshusen, director, information security issues, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. GAO-14-469T, March 25.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-469T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661898.pdf

VA OIG — Administrative Investigation Failure to Properly Supervise, Misuse of Official Time and Resources, and Prohibited Personnel Practice VA Center for Innovation VA Central Office (redacted)

March 3, 2014 Comments off

Administrative Investigation Failure to Properly Supervise, Misuse of Official Time and Resources, and Prohibited Personnel Practice VA Center for Innovation VA Central Office (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General

The former (resigned) Director of VA’s Center for Innovation did not properly detail and supervise a GS-12 VBA Rating Veterans Service Representative (RVSR), which led to the RVSR misusing official time, unauthorized travel, misusing about $31,000 in travel funds, misusing a VA position and resources, and installing unapproved software to a VA laptop for sexting. The former Director also engaged in a prohibited personnel practice when he pressured VBA officials to create a non-competitive GS-13/14 position to give preference to and promote the RVSR; however, he intentionally did not tell the VBA officials of an ongoing OIG investigation of the RVSR for misconduct so that they could make fully informed decisions. Further, VBA officials engaged in a prohibited personnel practice when they failed to make proper considerations in their personnel decisions and created a position to promote the RVSR without question and solely due to the former Director’s request.

Audit of VA’s Hearing Aid Services

February 24, 2014 Comments off

Audit of VA’s Hearing Aid Services (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General

We conducted this audit to evaluate the effectiveness of VA’s administration of hearing aid order and repair services through VA’s audiology services. Tinnitus and hearing loss were the first and second most prevalent service-connected disabilities for veterans receiving compensation at the end of FY 2012. VA was not timely in issuing new hearing aids to veterans or in meeting its 5-day timeliness goal to complete repair services. During the 6-month period ending September 2012, the Veterans Health Administration issued 30 percent of its hearing aids to veterans more than 30 days from the estimated receipt date from their vendors. Medical facilities’ audiology staff attributed the delays to inadequate staffing to meet an increased workload. In addition, the Denver Acquisition and Logistics Center (DALC) took 17 to 24 days to complete hearing aid repair services, exceeding its 5-day timeliness goal. During this period, 5 of 21 repair technician positions were vacant. These vacancies, and an increased workload, adversely affected DALC’s ability to meet its timeliness goal for hearing aid repairs. We observed and estimated about 19,500 sealed packages of hearing aids were waiting for repair and staff to record the date received into DALC’s production system. According to management, staff did not record the date they received the packages because opening packages had the potential risk of losing small parts. Without a timely recording system, staff cannot adequately respond to veteran and medical facility inquiries. We recommended the Under Secretary for Health develop a plan to implement productivity standards and staffing plans for audiology clinics. Also, we recommended the Principal Executive Director of the Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction ensure DALC determines the appropriate staffing levels for its repair lab and establish controls to timely track and monitor hearing aids for repair. The Under Secretary for Health and Principal Executive Director, Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction, and the Office of Inspector General concurred with our recommendations.

CRS — “Who is a Veteran?” — Basic Eligibility for Veterans’ Benefits

January 31, 2014 Comments off

“Who is a Veteran?” — Basic Eligibility for Veterans’ Benefits (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

A broad range of benefits are offered to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and to certain members of their families by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Among these benefits are various types of financial assistance, including monthly cash payments to disabled veterans, health care, education, and housing benefits. Basic criteria must be met to be eligible to receive any of the benefits administered by the VA.

For a former servicemember to receive certain VA benefits, the person must have active U.S. military service for a minimum period of time and meet nature of discharge requirements. Some members of the National Guard and reserve components have difficulty meeting the active duty and length of service requirements. However, a member of the National Guard or reserve components who is activated for federal military service and serves the full period of activation is considered a veteran for purposes of VA benefits.

The GI Bill Improvement Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-202) recognized the service of one group of civilians, the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots, as active service for benefits administered by the VA, and it also established that the Secretary of Defense could determine that service for the Armed Forces by a group of civilians, or contractors, be considered active service for benefits administered by the VA.

This report examines the basic eligibility criteria for VA administered veterans’ benefits, including the issue of eligibility of members of the National Guard and reserve components.

Department of Veterans Affairs FY 2014-2020 Strategic Plan

December 30, 2013 Comments off

Department of Veterans Affairs FY 2014-2020 Strategic Plan (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

We serve a shrinking, but increasingly diverse, Veteran population. The number and complexity of disability claims continues to increase. Changes in health technologies, health legislation, and health care delivery systems will impact both public and private sector health care models. Technological advances in all disciplines are changing the way we communicate, learn, shop, travel, monitor our health, conduct warfare, and even memorialize the fallen. Our service to Veterans must reflect these changes.

This VA Strategic Plan for FY 2014-2020 builds on our prior (FY 2011-2015) strategic plan. We will continue to significantly transform how we operate as a Department. We will keep the promises we have made to increase access, eliminate the claims backlog, and end Veteran homelessness. In addition, this plan places a stronger emphasis on defining success by Veteran outcomes; enhancing the quality of and access to benefits and services through integration within VA and with our partners; and developing our workforce with the skills, tools, and leadership to meet our clients’ needs and expectations.

Access to the US department of veterans affairs health system: self-reported barriers to care among returnees of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom

December 12, 2013 Comments off

Access to the US department of veterans affairs health system: self-reported barriers to care among returnees of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom
Source: BMC Health Services Research

Background
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) implemented the Polytrauma System of Care to meet the health care needs of military and veterans with multiple injuries returning from combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Studies are needed to systematically assess barriers to use of comprehensive and exclusive VA healthcare services from the perspective of veterans with polytrauma and with other complex health outcomes following their service in Afghanistan and Iraq. These perspectives can inform policy with regard to the optimal delivery of care to returning veterans.

Methods
We studied combat veterans (n?=?359) from two polytrauma rehabilitation centers using structured clinical interviews and qualitative open-ended questions, augmented with data collected from electronic health records. Our outcomes included several measures of exclusive utilization of VA care with our primary exposure as reported access barriers to care.

Results
Nearly two thirds of the veterans reported one or more barriers to their exclusive use of VA healthcare services. These barriers predicted differences in exclusive use of VA healthcare services. Experiencing any barriers doubled the returnees? odds of not using VA exclusively, the geographic distance to VA barrier resulted in a 7 fold increase in the returnees odds of not using VA, and reporting a wait time barrier doubled the returnee?s odds of not using VA. There were no striking differences in access barriers for veterans with polytrauma compared to other returning veterans, suggesting the barriers may be uniform barriers that predict differences in using the VA exclusively for health care.

Conclusions
This study provides an initial description of utilization of VA polytrauma rehabilitation and other medical care for veteran returnees from all military services who were involved in combat operations in Afghanistan or Iraq. Our findings indicate that these veterans reported important stigmatization and barriers to receiving services exclusively from the VA, including mutable health delivery system factors.

Expand Mental Health Care for Veterans Says CNAS Scholar in New Report

December 5, 2013 Comments off

Expand Mental Health Care for Veterans Says CNAS Scholar in New Report
Source: Center for a New American Security

Although the VA will spend nearly $7 billion this year on mental health care for veterans, CNAS Senior Fellow Phillip Carter argues in Expanding the Net: Building Mental Health Care Capacity for Veterans, this is not likely to be enough. The report urges the VA to rely more on the private sector and work more closely with local community and private philanthropic organizations.

Among his specific recommendations, Mr. Carter proposes that the VA develop and share mental health care data, pursue a portfolio approach that invests in the most promising care models, develop a wraparound information environment that integrates with the private and philanthropic sectors, build a human capital pipeline of mental health care personnel, and invest in emerging technologies, such as telemedicine. The additional investment is essential, says Mr. Carter, as “those receiving treatment do better in managing their post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury and are less likely to commit suicide.”

VA OIG — Healthcare Inspection: Alleged Improper Opioid Prescription Renewal Practices, San Francisco VA Medical Center

December 4, 2013 Comments off

Healthcare Inspection: Alleged Improper Opioid Prescription Renewal Practices, San Francisco VA Medical Center
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General

The VA Office of Inspector General Office of Healthcare Inspections conducted an inspection in response to complaints concerning improper opioid prescription renewal practices in the Medical Practice Clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (facility), San Francisco, CA. We reviewed the following allegations: (1) attendings on-duty are tasked with evaluating numerous opioid renewal requests for patients with whom they are unfamiliar, (2) providers do not routinely document patients’ opioid prescription renewal problems in the electronic health record, and (3) there have been patient hospitalizations and deaths related to opioid misuse.

We substantiated that attendings on-duty are tasked with evaluating numerous opioid renewal requests for patients with whom they are unfamiliar; however, Veterans Health Administration regulations and local policy do not prohibit such practice.

We partially substantiated that providers do not routinely document patients’ opioid prescription renewal problems in the electronic health record. The providers did not consistently document an assessment for adherence with appropriate use of opioids and monitor patients for misuse, abuse, or addiction. The primary care providers did not consistently complete the templated Narcotic Instructions Note for patients with opioid prescription renewal problems.

We partially substantiated that there have been hospitalizations and deaths of patients related to opioid misuse. Seven patients were hospitalized for opioid overdose; however, the primary care provider, Psychiatry Service, and/or the facility’s Substance Abuse Program assessed and appropriately monitored the patients for misuse. There were no deaths related to opioid overdose.

We recommended that the Facility Director (1) ensure that providers comply with all elements of the management of opioid therapy for chronic pain, as required by Veterans Health Administration and the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Management of Opioid Therapy for Chronic Pain, and (2) ensure that the Narcotic Instructions Note is reevaluated for appropriate use in the Medical Practice Clinic and that providers comply with established protocol.

The Veterans Integrated Service Network and Facility Directors concurred with our recommendations and provided an acceptable action plan. (See Appendixes A and B, pages 6–9 for the Director’s comments.) We will follow up on the planned actions until they are completed.

VA OIG — Healthcare Inspection – Gastroenterology Consult Delays, William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center, Columbia, South Carolina

November 22, 2013 Comments off

Healthcare Inspection – Gastroenterology Consult Delays, William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center, Columbia, South Carolina
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General

The OIG conducted a review at the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VAMC (facility) in Columbia, SC to determine whether deficient practices contributed to or caused delays in care, and whether facility leaders appropriately addressed clinical managers’ concerns. OIG substantiated the allegations and found additional factors that contributed to the events. In July 2011 VISN and facility leaders became aware of the GI consult backlog involving 2,500 delayed consults, 700 “critical”. The VISN awarded the facility $1.02M for fee colonoscopies in September 2011. Because facility leaders did not assure a structure for tracking and accountability by December 2011, the backlog stood at 3,800. The facility developed an action plan in January 2012 but had difficulty making progress in reducing the backlog. An adverse event in May 2012 prompted facility, VISN, and VHA leaders to re-evaluate the GI situation and essentially eliminated the backlog by late October 2012. During the review “look-back”, 280 patients were diagnosed with GI malignancies, 52 were associated with a delay in diagnosis and treatment. Several factors contributed to the GI backlog and hampered efforts to improve the condition. Specifically, the facility’s Planning Council did not have a supportive structure; Nursing Service did not include GI nurses on their priority hiring list; Fee Basis care had been reduced; low-risk patients were being referred for screening colonoscopies, thus increasing demand; staff members did not consistently and correctly use the consult management reporting and tracking systems; critical VISN and facility leadership positions were filled by a series of managers who often had collateral duties and differing priorities; and Quality Management was not included in discussions about the GI backlogs.

See: Some Veterans Hospitals Engage in Cover-ups to Hide Delays Leading to Patient Deaths (AllGov)

Battle for Benefits: VA Discrimination Against Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma

November 8, 2013 Comments off

Battle for Benefits: VA Discrimination Against Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma
Source: American Civil Liberties Union, Service Women’s Action Network, Yale Law School

Sexual assault and harassment are serious problems in the United States armed forces. Thousands of service members each year are estimated to have experienced some form of military sexual trauma (MST), including rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.

Less well known is the second battle that many veterans who survive sexual violence must fight with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) when they return to civilian life.

“Battle for Benefits: VA Discrimination Against Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma,” a report released by Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), the American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project (ACLU), and the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT), with assistance by the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic, reveals that the process of obtaining VA disability benefits for the enduring mental health effects of military sexual trauma (MST) is an unfair fight in which veterans are often unsuccessful. Veterans who survive in-service sexual trauma face discrimination in seeking compensation.

Report: Veterans Affairs Spending Binge Fueled by Unethical Behavior and Irresponsible Leadership

October 31, 2013 Comments off

Report: Veterans Affairs Spending Binge Fueled by Unethical Behavior and Irresponsible Leadership
Source: U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight & Government Reform

In conjunction with a full committee hearing, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today released a staff report entitled “U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 2011 Human Resources Conferences: A Culture of Reckless Spending.” The report is a product of the Committee’s year-long investigation of two conferences held by the Department of Veterans Affairs in July 2011 and August 2011 in Orlando, Florida. These two conferences, which were purportedly organized to train human resources professionals, cost taxpayers approximately $6.1 million.

“The Committee’s investigation has revealed that this massive price tag was the direct result of spending mismanagement, unethical behavior by federal employees, and irresponsible leadership,” the report states.

See also: Hearing — A Culture of Mismanagement and Wasteful Conference Spending at the Department of Veterans Affairs

New From the GAO

October 31, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Security Clearances: Additional Mechanisms May Aid Federal Tax-Debt Detection. GAO-13-733, September 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-733
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/657701.pdf

2. Biomedical Research: NIH Should Assess the Impact of Growth in Indirect Costs on Its Mission. GAO-13-760,September 24.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-760
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/658088.pdf

3. VA Health Care: Additional Guidance, Training, and Oversight Needed to Improve Clinical Contract Monitoring. GAO-14-54, October 31.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-54
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/658686.pdf

Testimony

1. Personnel Security Clearances: Full Development and Implementation of Metrics Needed to Measure Quality of Process, by Brenda S. Farrell, director, defense capabilities and management, before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-14-157T, October 31.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-157T
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/658670.pdf

Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown

October 10, 2013 Comments off

Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The President, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the administration strongly believe that a lapse in appropriations should not have occurred on October 1, 2013, and Congress should act to fund critical Government operations. During the government shutdown, VA medical centers, clinics and other health services have advance appropriations for 2014 and will remain open. VA has funds available to ensure claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs will continue through late October. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs will be suspended when funds are exhausted.

VA has produced a 2-page information sheet, the Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown, which summarizes all of the services that will be available and those that will be impacted by potential lapse in appropriations. This file will be updated as needed. The department’s detailed contingency plan is also available below.

See also: Appropriations Lapse Contingency Plan (PDF)

Legion releases women veterans health-care report

September 17, 2013 Comments off

Legion releases women veterans health-care report
Source: American Legion

The American Legion has issued its report on the quality of health care for women veterans at 15 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers across the country,

Key findings of The American Legion’s report include the fact that many former women servicemembers do not identify themselves as veterans, many VA medical centers lack long-term health-care plans for women veterans, and VA facilities often have no inpatient or residential mental health programs for women veterans.

The “2013 Task Force Report on Women Veterans Health Care,” released to the public on Sept. 17, is based on site visits by the Legion’s System Worth Saving (SWS) Task Force to VA facilities in Buffalo, N.Y.; Augusta, Maine; Fargo, N.D.; Chicago; Tampa, Fla., Erie and Coatesville, Pa.; Dublin, Ga.; Salem, Va.; Las Vegas; Tuscaloosa, Ala.; San Antonio; Texas; Madison, Wis.; Spokane, Wash.; and St. Cloud, Minn. During these visits, SWS task force members and American Legion field service representatives interviewed each facility’s leadership and staff on the delivery of health care for women veterans.

The report’s objectives were to understand what perceptions and barriers prevent women veterans from enrolling in VA health care, determine what challenges women veterans face with their health care, and provide recommendations that VA can take to improve access to health care for women veterans.

New From the GAO

July 30, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Critical Infrastructure Protection: DHS Could Strengthen the Management of the Regional Resiliency Assessment Program. GAO-13-616, July 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-616
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/656345.pdf

2. Transportation Security: TSA Could Strengthen Monitoring of Allegations of Employee Misconduct. GAO-13-624, July 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-624
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/656302.pdf

3. Overstay Enforcement: Additional Actions Needed to Assess DHS’s Data and Improve Planning for a Biometric Air Exit Program. GAO-13-683, July 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-683
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/656318.pdf
Podcast: http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/656347

4. Department of Veterans Affairs: Available Data Not Sufficiently Reliable to Describe Use of Consulting Services. GAO-13-714R, July 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-714R

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Strategic Plan to Eliminate the Compensation Claims Backlog

July 2, 2013 Comments off

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Strategic Plan to Eliminate the Compensation Claims Backlog (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The Obama Administration has shown unwavering commitment to serve Veterans. VA has completed a record-breaking 1 million claims per year the last three fiscal years. But too many Veterans have to wait too long to get the benefits they have earned and deserve. These delays are unacceptable. This report outlines VA’s robust plan to tackle this problem and build a paperless, digital disability claims system – a lasting solution that will transform how we operate and ensure we achieve the Secretary’s goal of eliminating the claims backlog and improving decision accuracy to 98 percent in 2015 – to deliver faster, better decisions for Veterans.

The first section describes the compensation claims backlog.

The second section describes the VBA’s Transformation Plan to improve personnel performance, redesign business processes, and replace paperbound and manual systems with digitized and automated ones.

The third section identifies two potential future factors that could further increase our claims volume over the three-year period, FY 2013 through FY 2015, and how we will address these challenges.

The fourth section focuses on performance management.

Finally, we provide more specific information on the Veterans Benefits Management System in the appendix to this document.

Extensive VA claims data is available here.

New From the GAO

June 7, 2013 Comments off

New GAO Reports

Source: Government Accountability Office

1. VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program: Improved Oversight of Independent Living Services and Supports Is Needed. GAO-13-474, June 7.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-474
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/655088.pdf

2. Congressionally Chartered Organizations: Key Principles for Leveraging Nonfederal Resources. GAO-13-549, June 7.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-549
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/655081.pdf

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