WACO (July 31, 2013)—A new report from the Officer of the Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs finds that 40 percent of the disability claims inspectors reviewed at the Waco VA Regional Office were inaccurately processed and calls for refresher training for employees.
Inspectors reviewed 60 disability claims pending at the office and found that 15 of 30 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations were inaccurate and that errors were made in processing nine of 30 traumatic brain injury claims, the VA said.
The errors in processing 100 percent disability claims occurred primarily because controls weren’t established to request future medical reexaminations and the errors in brain injury claims occurred primarily because of ineffective training and the inexperience of staffers, the report said.
The report recommends a review of all remaining temporary 100 percent disability evaluations identified during the inspection and for refresher training on processing traumatic brain injury claims as well as “second-level review of traumatic brain injury claims decisions by more experienced decisions makers.”
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Weatherford, whose district includes Fort Hood, said in a statement Wednesday it’s time to fix the problems.
“It is completely unacceptable for the VA to continue operating with such inaccuracy and inefficiency. Our nation’s veterans deserve better than this sub-par service, and it’s well past time for the VA to get to the bottom of its many problems.”
“Veterans don’t have other options when it comes to medical care. Just as they honored their commitment to serve and protect us, we must honor our commitment to providing them with the appropriate care and treatment they deserve. Anything less is a shameful disservice to our veterans,” he said.
The report found that the office’s performance was generally effective in addressing mental health treatment for Gulf War veterans and that the staff provided adequate outreach to homeless veterans, although a measure needs to be established to assess the outreach program.
The Waco VA Regional Office has been the focus of VA critics because of major backlogs in claims and longer-than-average wait times for processing.