Report Summary

Title: Inspection of the VA Regional Office Los Angeles, California
Report Number: 12-00245-176
Issue Date: 5/10/2012
City/State: Los Angeles, 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 Los Angeles VARO accomplishes its mission. We found the Los Angeles VARO staff provided adequate outreach to homeless shelters and followed the policy for correcting errors identified by Systematic Technical Accuracy Review staff. However, it lacked accuracy in processing some disability claims. VARO staff did not accurately process 54 (60 percent) of 90 disability claims we sampled as part of our inspection. 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. Staff used insufficient medical examination reports to process traumatic brain injury claims. Further, errors in herbicide exposure-related disability claims occurred because staff incorrectly interpreted policy. VARO management did not ensure staff properly processed mail, or accurately addressed Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment. Further, inadequate monitoring of corrective actions on prematurely closed claims and lack of management controls over the processing of oldest pending claims resulted in significant delays. 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.