Report Summary

Title: Inspection of VA Regional Office Jackson, Mississippi
Report Link: http://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-13-00709-257.pdf
Report Number: 13-00709-257
Issue Date: 7/29/2013
City/State: Jackson, MS
VA Office: Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Benefits Inspection
Release Type: Unrestricted
Summary: We evaluated the Jackson VARO to see how well it accomplishes its mission. We found the VARO staff did not accurately process 13 (25 percent) of 52 disability claims we reviewed. We sampled claims we consider to be at higher risk of processing errors, thus these results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO. Specifically, 10 of 30 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations were inaccurate. These errors in processing generally occurred because VARO staff did not establish suspense diaries in the electronic record to schedule medical reexaminations as required. Management also did not ensure second signature reviews and therefore staff incorrectly processed 3 of 22 traumatic brain injury claims completed from July through September 2012. VARO managers ensured Systematic Analyses of Operations were complete and timely. Generally, VARO staff completed rating decisions that correctly addressed Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment. However, staff did not provide adequate outreach to homeless veterans in the VARO’s area of jurisdiction. We could not fully assess the effectiveness of these outreach activities because VBA needs performance metrics for its homeless veterans outreach program.

We recommended the VARO Director implement a plan to ensure staff enter suspense diaries in the electronic record and review for accuracy the 195 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations remaining from the OIG’s inspection universe of related claims. Management also should implement a plan to ensure effective second signature reviews of traumatic brain injury claims and adequate outreach to homeless veterans within the VARO’s area of jurisdiction. The VARO Director concurred with our recommendations.