The salaries paid in the failed VA system:
"Delays have increased despite a new $300 million computer system and 3,300 claims processors hired since 2010 – 765 of them for additional positions."
I'm wondering where the heck the environmentalists are and why they aren't squawking about all the trees involved in the VA's pathetic attempt at processing claims! I had one Veteran tell me his file with the VA is 6 ft high! One Veteran, a 6 ft high file!!! Despicable!
"For example, the VA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has been conducting reviews of the nation’s 57 regional offices. In the inspection reports, patterns emerge. Phrases like "inaccuracies in processing," "incorrectly interpreted policy" and "use of inadequate medical examinations" show up over and over again contributing
to the unnecessary delays resulting from mismanagement.
In Roanoke, Va., for example, inspectors found paper files — some of them active claims — stacked by the thousands on top of already-full filing cabinets. A structural engineer reported that the sheer weight of it all actually put the building in danger."
"Problems from that era are found in the VA system today, have grown to gigantic proportions and constant "reporting" of planned improvements during this decade have been entirely ineffective. Because, managerial problems continued with pathetic attempts at corrective measures within an outdated support structure that has been patched time and, again, leading to failure after failure. The aforementioned two foot stack of paperwork for the yesteryear veteran’s claim has now grown to four, five, or six feet today because of improper administrative management that leads an unbelievable error rate in claims processing. And the penalty for getting a claim wrong is essentially nonexistent because it is a problem that is being accepted because management cannot develop a fix."
Absolute incompetence and the management is rewarded:
In 2007 Rep. Harry Mitchell, chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs subcommittee on oversight, said he would hold hearings to investigate after reports that budget officials at the Veterans Affairs Department received bonuses ranging up to $33, 000. A list of bonuses to senior career officials in 2006 documents a generous package of more than $3.8-million in payments by a financially strapped agency straining to help care for thousands of injured veterans re-turning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Among those receiving payments were a deputy assistant secretary and several regional directors who crafted the VA's flawed budget for 2005 based on misleading ac-counting. They received performance payments of up to $33, 000 each, a figure equal to about 20 percent of their annual salaries.
Performance payments??!!!!! Performance payments for poor performance! And the errors continue:
Problems were known and the system should have been ready to correct it. That did not occur. Take a look at some of the claim error rates around the country the above graph that are rather unbelievable.
These errors lead to significant delays, compounded by the number of claims entering into the system. VA completed 977,000 claims in 2009, but took in, for the first time, more than a million new ones. In 2010, VA completed 1 million claims, but received 1.2 million new ones. By the end of 2011, officials expected to receive 1.45 million claims –- a double-digit increase over the number of claims received in 2000. In plain language, more is coming in that is going out and their delays will increase with a claim error rate exceeding 60 percent in some locations..
Statement by Linda A. Halliday Assistant Inspector General for Audits and Evaluations Office of Inspector General Department of Veterans Affairs:
"Our inspections of 50 VAROs from April 2009 through May 2012 disclosed multiple challenges that VBA faces in providing timely and accurate disability benefits and services to veterans. We focused our efforts on specific types of disability claims processing, including temporary 100 percent disability evaluations, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and herbicide exposure, which we considered at high-risk for processing errors. Based on the 50 inspections completed, we determined that VARO staff did not correctly process 1,442 (30 percent) of the 4,812 high-risk claims we reviewed. Of these, about 32 percent affected veterans’ benefits and approximately 68 percent had the potential to affect veter-ans’ benefits. The errors we identified resulted in a total of approximately $15 million in overpayments and $800,000 in underpayments to veterans. Herbicide exposure-related claims represent an area where initially we saw a consistent error rate of about 45 percent. Nineteen of the 20 VAROs inspected in FY 2011 did not follow VBA policy in processing claims for residuals of TBI. We found that VARO staff did not adequately process about 740 (45 percent) of 1,650 TBI claims that we reviewed."
The Bay Citizen provides data regularly updated with statistics clearly indicating failure of the St Petersburg VA Regional Office to meet standards of support. As of December 12, 2012 the following was reported:
47,782 veterans are awaiting response to their claims of a disease, injury or illness suffered while in the military.
Average wait time for veterans was 1,383 days for those who appeal as of May 2012, which is an increase of 20.3% in the prior 1.1 years.
Average response time to a claim was 284 days as of October 2012, which is an increase of 34.2% in the prior 1.5 years.
There was a 7% decrease in disability claims in the last 85 weeks while 65.8% of veterans (31,438) are waiting 125 days or more (the VA standard is 125 days) for a response as of December 17, 2012.
Whether those performance figures are applied to a private business, or to a government office, they are shocking and completely unacceptable.
The system is simply broke:
"They're not interested in quality," said attorney Gordon Erspamer. "They are interested in production and getting the decisions done, regardless of whether they are right or wrong. "The system is simply broke. We can do a lot better for our veterans." The VA says its error rate on disability claims is 14 percent. But the Center for Investigative Reporting analyzed a subset of those claims and found an error rate of 38 percent. And the Board of Veter-ans Appeals found the agency made mis-takes in 73 percent of cases. Attorney Gordon Erspamer says errors are often the result of a well-known practice at the VA, "There's a practice called topsheeting -- a very famous term at the VA. And that is basically you take a look at the file, you look at the top pages of the file, and you write a decision."
Recently, Darin Selnick, a retired Air Force captain and former special assistant to the secretary of veterans af-fairs, on an east coast tour with the Concerned Veterans for America to promote important is-sues facing veterans, said:
"I’ve just never seen in an organization that has so much money and so many employees, such in-competence...You have to have a good executive core that leads and manages and trains. What you have is some good managers, but they’re thwarted by a vast number of leadership and management that really care about themselves first and the veterans second."
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results! The VA system is a bureautic broken mess. It is time to "topsheet" the federal government and write the decision to get them out of the VA system. It seems to me our Veteran's claims should be handled and regulated solely by each respective state. Maybe that seems so simple a solution to such a complex mess. I'm not sure what all the answers are but I'm sure of one thing:
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."
- President George Washington
I have seen most of that and you are on point, Obammy is CRUSHING this country...
i have been going at with them for 10 yrs and still no help !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Veteran advocates have been blowing the whistle on this issue for years......and years.....and years.....This isn't something that is just coming to light, its all about screw the veteran and pass me the raise............I've been disgusted with the VA for over 30 years. I've petitioned, demonstrated, and plead with congressmen and senators to no avail......"Article 99" is the answer to straightening out the VA......The VA from the top to the bottom needs to be staffed by Veterans............
This is just another in a long line of bitching that won't get anywhere . The Government has bigger and better things to do and care less . Most Vets are in their 60's and 70's now and can't put up a fight and it is not a fluke that they are having their will with us because of it . Anyone thinking differently surely has different info than I .
As I wrote earlier my involvement with the VA has been mixed but I don't see anything going to change . We are losing our country , plain and simple to the World which will not be kind to us .
You know , I know that Ocrap is no more qualified to be president than Hugo Chavez and yet the Republicans do nothing and why is that ? They're in it up to their eyeballs .
One way or the other they're going to get our guns and China will be able to have the resources they want and need . Until that happens China will be held off .
We are not organized and won't be and that I'm sure of . So if you're going to fight as most here say they will I'm quite certain you will die as I will . In history it will mean nothing that we're dead as history now has a way of rewriting it
Most have no idea of what we'll face !
I know Twana works hard on these blogs but when it comes right down to it if we don't have a country nothing else matters . Our Vets number some three million plus but few were ever in combat . That doesn't bode well for us in any way . Of these how many in leadership roles ? And how many fit to fight ? I could list a dozen other facts that quite frankly are very depressing and worrisome .
I know I've gotten off message and I'm sorry for that but most of these blogs are unnecessary with the time I believe we have . They have us going a million directions while their direction is very purposeful and direct . We just don't see it .
Keep fighting for your VA rights but don't forget that we are in peril , very real and of urgent demand .
Maybe a form written letter should be written to address this issue and sent out to
interested patriots so they can send them to the legislators. It is a beginning.
You write it, I'll send it, Selma!
Boy ! I have a love hate with the VA . They saved my life no doubt but the hoops are huge . Some VA hospitals are great but some not so . Each hospital has an SOP and everyone that enters the doors need to read and understand it . When you know it it is fairly easy to navigate however there are those that have not the mental capacity or the will to do it and is absolutely understandable and that is why you need the American Legion or the DVA and there are a couple other advocates to help you .
I know people that have been turned out because they didn't use the right tools as mentioned above . I work as a volunteer but not so much anymore as it's a hardship for me being 70 miles away . I've seen the best of the VA and the worst of them .It depends on the administration and of course this one could actually care less . Clinton was also lousy .