RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- The Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General -- following the release of their findings in regard to the Reno Veterans Affairs Regional Office's (VARO) performance in processing patient claims -- is recommending "timely and appropriate" measures be taken to achieve compliance with responsive standards, including reminders for staff, adequate training, and rectification of temporary '100% benefit' claims that remain unfulfilled.
This report from the VA Office of the Inspector General details the VA's track record in accurately processing disability claims.
According to the report, the Veterans Affairs Regional Office (VARO) staff did not accurately process 36 (51%) of 71 disability claims reviewed. The Inspector General's Office obtained this number by sampling claims considered at higher risk of processing errors, thus these results do not represent this VARO’s overall accuracy in processing disability claims. However, claims processing that lacks compliance with VBA procedures can risk paying inaccurate financial benefits.
The report also reveals twenty-two of 29 temporary '100% 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.
The Director of the Reno VARO concurred with all recommendations. Management’s planned actions are responsive and the VA Inspector General's Office will follow up as required on all actions.
While the Inspector General's Office calls for compliance and oversight, some government officials are calling for more drastic measures.
A statement released by Sen. Dean Heller Tuesday says, “Enough is enough. Ed Russell [Director of Reno VARO] should either resign or the Department of Veterans Affairs should take immediate steps to ensure his removal. The Reno VARO has consistently topped the charts as one of the worst-performing regional offices in the nation, and, just today, a report from the VA Inspector General asserts that these problems have persisted due to poor management."
To access the full report, click here