Report Summary

Title: Inspection of VA Regional Office St. Paul, Minnesota
Report Number: 13-01550-286
Issue Date: 9/9/2013
City/State: St. Paul, MN
VA Office: Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Benefits Inspection
Release Type: Unrestricted
Summary: We evaluated the St. Paul VARO to see how well it accomplishes its mission. We found the VARO staff did not accurately process 14 (23 percent) of 60 disability claims reviewed. We sampled claims we consider at higher risk of processing errors, thus these results do not represent the overall accuracy of disability claims processing at this VARO. Specifically, 5 of 30 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations we reviewed were inaccurate. These errors generally occurred because VARO staff did not establish controls to request future medical reexaminations. Further, VARO staff incorrectly processed 9 of 30 traumatic brain injury claims. These errors occurred primarily due to ineffective training on processing complex traumatic brain injury claims. Management generally ensured Systematic Analyses of Operations were complete and timely. However, VARO staff did not always properly grant Gulf War veterans entitlement to mental health treatment. VARO staff provided adequate outreach to homeless veterans. Due to a lack of performance measures, we could not fully assess the effectiveness of the VARO’s homeless veterans outreach program.

We recommended the VARO Director develop and implement a plan to review the 299 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations remaining from our inspection universe of related claims and take appropriate action. The Director should also provide refresher training on processing traumatic brain injury claims and monitor the effectiveness of that training. The VARO Director concurred with our recommendations.