Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the results of the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) recently published reports where we substantiated allegations of mismanagement and data manipulation at the VA Regional Office (VARO) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and allegations of claims mismanagement at the Oakland, California, VARO. I am accompanied today by Ms. Nora Stokes, Director, OIG Bay Pines Benefits Inspection Division and Mr. Brent Arronte, Director, OIG San Diego Benefits Inspection Division.
Combined Assessment Program Summary Report - Evaluation of Quality Management in Veterans Health Administration Facilities Fiscal Year 2014
The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) completed an evaluation of Veterans Health Administration medical facilities’ quality management programs. OIG conducted this review at 57 Veterans Health Administration medical facilities during Combined Assessment Program reviews performed across the country from October 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014. Facility senior managers reported that they supported their quality management programs and actively participated through being involved in committees, mentoring teams, and reviewing meeting minutes and reports. We identified opportunities for improvement in the areas of peer review, teledermatology, utilization management, review of resuscitation events, blood usage review, and surgical oversight and made seven recommendations.
Review of Alleged Data Manipulation and Mismanagement at VA Regional Office Philadelphia, PA
In late May 2014, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) began receiving a number of allegations through the VA OIG Hotline of mismanagement at the Philadelphia Regional Office (VARO). Many of these allegations included indicators that staff had a serious mistrust of VARO management. On June 19, 2014, VA OIG benefits inspectors, auditors, and criminal and administrative investigators began a comprehensive review of conditions at the Philadelphia VARO. Overall, OIG staff conducted over 100 interviews with VARO management and staff to assess the merits of multiple allegations of wrongdoing. We substantiated serious issues involving mismanagement and distrust of VARO management impeding the effectiveness of its operations and services to veterans. Overall, OIG made 35 recommendations for improvement at the Philadelphia VARO, encompassing mismanagement of VA resources resulting in compromised data integrity, lack of financial stewardship, and lack of confidence in management’s ability to effectively manage workload, to include mail management and in protecting documents containing personally identifiable information. There is an immediate need to improve the operation and management of this VARO and take actions to ensure a more effective work environment. Further, the extent to which management oversight has been determined to be ineffective and/or lacking requires VBA’s oversight and action. It is imperative to ensure VBA leadership and the VARO Director implement plans to ensure the unprocessed workload we identified is processed and to provide appropriate oversight that is critical to minimizing the potential future financial risk of making inaccurate benefit payments. This includes maintaining oversight needed to ensure all future workload is processed timely and in ensuring the accurate and timely delivery of benefits and services.
OIG Monthly Highlights
Read about our top reports and investigations in March 2015
Veteran Sentenced for Wrongful Receipt of Benefits Based on Falsified Military Records
6 Months in Prison for Wakefield, MA, Man Who Falsified VA Claim, Judge Orders $174K in Restitution
Holland Couple Indicted In Connection With Fraudulent Receipt Of Veterans’ Benefits And Workers Compensation
NY Couple Face 20 Years in Prison, $250K Fine if Convicted for $1M Fraud Involving VA and Workers Comp Benefits
ORAL STATEMENT OF JOHN D. DAIGH, JR., M.D., CPA ASSISTANT INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR HEALTHCARE INSPECTIONS FOR JOINT HEARING ON TOMAH VA MEDICAL CENTER - Good afternoon Chairman Miller and Chairman Johnson, and other Members of the Congress. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today at Tomah to discuss quality of care issues at the Tomah VA. I am accompanied today by Dr. Mallinger. Dr. Mallinger has published over 100 articles in peer reviewed journals, held prestigious positions in Psychiatry and Pharmacology at several prominent medical schools, and led research programs in Psychiatry at the NIH. He has worked in the Office of Healthcare Inspections for the last four years.