Office of Inspector General Department of Veterans Affairs Semiannual Report to Congress (SAR) April 1, 2015 - September 30, 2015
The Semiannual Report to Congress summarizes the results of OIG oversight, provides statistical information, and lists all reports issued April 1–September 30, 2015. During this reporting period, OIG audits, investigations, inspections, evaluations, and other reviews identified over $1 billion in monetary benefits for a return of $18 for every dollar invested in OIG oversight. OIG issued 216 reports and 11 memoranda on VA programs and operations. OIG investigations led to 209 arrests, and OIG investigative work and Hotline activity oversight resulted in 660 administrative sanctions and corrective actions.
OIG Monthly Highlights
Read about our top reports and investigations in October 2015 CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY - Deputy Inspector General Testifies on Inappropriate Use of Position and Misuse of Relocation Program and Incentives at Veterans Benefits Administration Linda A. Halliday, Deputy Inspector General, testified at a hearing before the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, United States House of Representatives, on the results of the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) recently published report on the use of VA’s relocation program and related incentives within the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). Ms. Halliday explained that her statement was limited in order to preclude any allegation that OIG’s testimony could unduly influence VA or the Department of Justice regarding potential administrative or criminal action. She told the Committee that the report concluded VBA misused the permanent change of station (PCS) program for the benefit of its senior executive service workforce and that VA needs to take actions to strengthen controls over, and oversight of, the PCS program in order to improve the financial stewardship of taxpayer funds. She also noted that effective October 1, 2015, VA ceased offering the Appraised Value Offer component of its PCS program which helps employees sell their primary residences. Ms. Halliday was accompanied by Mr. Nicholas Dahl, Director, Bedford Office of Audits and Evaluations, and Ms. Linda Fournier, Director, Administrative Investigations Division.
Healthcare Inspection – Access and Oversight Concerns for Home Health Services, Washington DC VA Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia
OIG conducted an inspection at the request of Senator Barbara Mikulski to assess the merit of allegations regarding access to purchased home and community based services (HCBS) at the Washington DC VA Medical Center (facility), Washington, DC. We substantiated that the facility had wait times exceeding a year for patients needing homemaker/home health aide services, a component of HCBS. However, the facility reduced the electronic wait list from 584 patients in December 2013 to zero patients in February 2015. We also substantiated that multiple Veterans Health Administration facilities had patients waiting for HCBS. Incidental to our review, we found that local HCBS program managers did not comply with all elements of national and local policy regarding quality of care, patient communication, and electronic health record documentation. In addition, despite being required to use an electronic wait list for HCBS patients since 2006, the facility used a manual wait list until early 2014. We recommended that the Interim Under Secretary for Health require facilities to develop action plans to address the care needs of patients on HCBS electronic wait lists. We also recommended that the Facility Director ensure HCBS staff comply with all elements of national and local policies and that oversight and management of HCBS is adequate and in compliance with national policies.
Healthcare Inspection – Alleged Program Inefficiencies and Delayed Care, Veterans Health Administration’s National Transplant Program
OIG assessed the merit of allegations regarding how liver transplantation referrals were processed by the Houston VA Transplant Center (VATC) and timeliness of care for patients referred for liver transplant evaluations at all VATCs. The allegations included policy concerns. In absence of specific allegations of wrongdoing or patient harm, we determined these concerns pertained to decisions that must be made by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) in conjunction with congressional oversight bodies and were outside the scope of this review. We substantiated that three stable patients referred to the Houston VATC for liver transplant evaluations were referred more than once because information was missing or additional information was needed. Those patients represent about 2 percent of patients referred January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2014. We did not find that the Houston VATC’s requiring referring facilities to resubmit referrals for a small number of patients represented a noteworthy program inefficiency. We substantiated that some patients referred for liver transplant evaluations at all VATCs experienced delays. We estimated that 6.9 percent of emergency referrals were not responded to in VHA’s electronic transplant referral system within 48 hours, as required. Among stable patient referrals, we estimated that 9.6 percent of referrals were not responded to in VHA’s electronic transplant referral system within 5 business days, as required. About half of stable patients who were deemed eligible for further evaluation did not receive an initial patient evaluation within 30 days, as required. We made three recommendations.
Mr. Chairmen and Members of the Subcommittees, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) work related to VA’s Veteran-Owned and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB and SDVOSB) programs. The VOSB and SDVOSB contracting programs increase contracting and subcontracting opportunities for veterans and service-disabled veterans and ensure these businesses receive fair consideration when VA purchases goods and services. My testimony will focus today on the OIG’s investigation of allegations that companies and individuals have fraudulently obtained Government noncompetitive set-aside contracts by misrepresenting their status as a VOSB or SDVOSB, which would deprive legitimate, eligible veteran-owned businesses from obtaining contracts earned through their honorable military service. We have also issued two oversight reports in recent years highlighting various problems related to the VOSB and SDVOSB programs. I am accompanied today by Mr. Gregory Gladhill, Audit Manager, Los Angeles Office of Audits and Evaluations.
Warner Chilcott Agrees to Plead Guilty to Health Care Fraud Scheme and Pay $125 Million
Joint VA OIG, HHS OIG, DODIG, OPM OIG, FBI, and FDA Investigation of Illegal Promotion of Osteoporosis Drugs Leads to $125M Settlement from Pharmaceutical Company, Settlement of Healthcare Fraud Scheme Will Return Funds to VA for Continued Care of Veteran
Former Federal Employee Labor Union President Indicted In White Plains Federal Court For Stealing Union Funds
US Attorney for Southern District of New York Recognizes Joint OIG - Department of Labor Investigation in Indictment of Former VA Union President Who Allegedly Misused $120,000 in Union Funds