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VA_Report_06102014

VA_Report_06102014

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Published by LVReviewJournal
Work by the Reno office that processes disability claims from Nevada veterans was riddled with errors on the most challenging cases, according to an audit released Tuesday. The report also found management flaws at the center.
Work by the Reno office that processes disability claims from Nevada veterans was riddled with errors on the most challenging cases, according to an audit released Tuesday. The report also found management flaws at the center.

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Published by: LVReviewJournal on Jun 10, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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06/10/2014

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   V   A    O   f   f   i  c  e  o   f   I  n  s  p  e  c   t  o  r   G  e  n  e  r  a   l
   O   F   F   I   C   E   O   F   A   U   D   I   T   S   A   N   D   E   V   A   L   U   A   T   I   O   N   S
Inspection of 
 
VA Regional Office
 
Reno, Nevada
 
June
10
, 2014 13-04324-170
 
 
ACRONYMS
FY Fiscal Year OIG Office of Inspector General RVSR Rating Veterans Service Representative SAO Systematic Analysis of Operations SMC Special Monthly Compensation STAR Systematic Technical Accuracy Review TBI Traumatic Brain Injury VARO Veterans Affairs Regional Office VBA Veterans Benefits Administration VSC Veterans Service Center WMP Workload Management Plan
To Report Suspected Wrongdoing in VA Programs and Operations:
 
Telephone: 1-800-488-8244
 
(Hotline Information: www.va.gov/oig/hotline)
 
 
Report Highlights: Inspection of the VA Regional Office, Reno, Nevada
Why We Did This Review
The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has 56 VA Regional Offices (VAROs) and a Veterans Service Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming, that process disability claims and provide a range of services to veterans. We evaluated the Reno VARO to see how well it accomplishes this mission.
What We Found
Overall, VARO staff did not accurately  process 36 (51 percent) of 71 disability claims reviewed. We sampled claims we considered at higher risk of processing errors, thus these results do not represent this VARO’s overall accuracy in processing disability claims. Claims processing that lacks compliance with VBA procedures can risk paying inaccurate financial benefits. Twenty-two of 29 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations were inaccurate, generally because staff did not timely act on reminder notifications for medical reexaminations. VARO staff incorrectly  processed 4 of 14 traumatic brain injury (TBI) claims, primarily by using insufficient medical examination reports. VARO staff also incorrectly processed 10 of 28 special monthly compensation (SMC) and ancillary  benefit claims due to lack of training.  Nine of 11 Systematic Analyses of Operations (SAO) were untimely; 7 of the 9 were also incomplete. Management did not timely complete the SAOs scheduled for fiscal year 2014 due to lack of oversight. Further, VARO staff delayed completion of 15 of 30 benefit reduction cases because management did not prioritize this work.
What We Recommend
We recommend the VARO Director implement a plan to ensure timely and appropriate action on reminder notifications for medical reexaminations, review and take appropriate action on the 275 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations remaining from our inspection universe, ensure required staff receive training on identifying insufficient TBI examinations and properly  processing SMC and ancillary benefit claims, provide oversight and training on SAOs, and develop a plan to prioritize action on benefit reduction cases.
 Agency Comments
The Director of the Reno VARO concurred with all recommendations. Management’s  planned actions are responsive and we will follow up as required on all actions.
LINDA A. HALLIDAY
Assistant Inspector General for Audits and Evaluations

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