Report Summary

Title: Inspection of the VA Regional Office Oakland, California
Report Number: 12-00247-175
Issue Date: 5/10/2012
City/State: Oakland, CA
VA Office: Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Benefits Inspection
Release Type: Unrestricted
Summary: OIG conducted this inspection to evaluate how well the Oakland VARO accomplishes its mission. We found the Oakland VARO staff followed the policy for correcting errors identified through the Systematic Technical Accuracy Review program and provided outreach to homeless shelters and service providers. VARO performance was generally effective in processing herbicide exposure-related disability claims. However, it lacked accuracy in processing some disability claims. VARO staff did not accurately process 35 (39 percent) of 90 disability claims we sampled. These results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO. The VARO lacked effective controls and accuracy in processing some disability claims. Inaccuracies in processing temporary 100 percent disability evaluations resulted when staff did not schedule or establish controls for future medical reexaminations. Staff incorrectly interpreted policy and used inadequate medical examinations to process traumatic brain injury claims. VARO management did not ensure staff timely completed all elements of Systematic Analyses of Operations, properly processed mail, accurately addressed Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment, and properly reviewed claims pending for more than a year. The VARO Director concurred with our findings and recommendations. The planned corrective actions are responsive and we will follow up as required on all actions.