Veteranclaims’s Blog

November 23, 2009

VAOIG Finds Baltimore-Ro Lacking in 14 of 15 Areas

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 7:43 pm

The VARO did not meet the requirements for 14 of the 15 operational areas reviewed and senior management acknowledged its workload was not under adequate control. The VARO Management team needs to provide additional oversight and training for responsible personnel processing claims identified as diabetes, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and Haas cases. The team also needs to improve controls over: tracking veteran’s claims in Control of Veterans Records System (COVERS); establishing the correct dates on claims; correcting errors identified by VBA’s Systematic Technical Accuracy Reviews (STAR); completing Systematic Analysis of Operations (SAO) accurately and timely, safeguarding veteran’s personally identifiable information (PII) and VARO date stamps; handling claims-related mail; responding to congressional and other electronic inquiries; and, processing fiduciary activities.

Inspection of VA Regional Office Baltimore, MD

Report Number 09-01993-29, 11/19/2009 | Full Report (PDF)

The Benefits Inspection Program conducts onsite inspections at VA Regional Offices (VAROs) to review disability compensation claims processing and Veterans Service Center (VSC) operations.

The Baltimore VARO Management team faces multiple challenges in providing benefits and services to veterans, including numerous personnel issues and a loss of experienced staff needed to support the Disability Evaluation System joint project with the Department of Defense. The VARO did not meet the requirements for 14 of the 15 operational areas reviewed and senior management acknowledged its workload was not under adequate control. The VARO Management team needs to provide additional oversight and training for responsible personnel processing claims identified as diabetes, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and Haas cases. The team also needs to improve controls over: tracking veteran’s claims in Control of Veterans Records System (COVERS); establishing the correct dates on claims; correcting errors identified by VBA’s Systematic Technical Accuracy Reviews (STAR); completing Systematic Analysis of Operations (SAO) accurately and timely, safeguarding veteran’s personally identifiable information (PII) and VARO date stamps; handling claims-related mail; responding to congressional and other electronic inquiries; and, processing fiduciary activities. We recommend the Under Secretary for Benefits assign a remedial action team to train and help support VSC operations. We recommended that the VARO improve oversight of the quality assurance process for the operational areas found lacking. We also recommended the VARO provide refresher training on the proper procedures to establish the correct date of claim and process fiduciary claims. The Under Secretary for Benefits concurred with our recommendation and assigned VBA’s Eastern Area Director to conduct bi-monthly performance briefings with VSC management. Also, the Compensation and Pension Service will conduct a follow-up site visit in June 2010. The Director of the Baltimore VA Regional Office concurred with all recommendations. The management team’s planned actions are responsive and we will follow-up as required on all actions.

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