Report Summary

Title: Inspection of the VA Regional Office, Reno, Nevada
Report Number: 13-04324-170
Issue Date: 6/10/2014
City/State: Reno, NV
VA Office: Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Benefits Inspection
Release Type: Unrestricted
Summary: We evaluated the Reno VA Regional Office (VARO) to see how well it accomplishes its mission. We found the VARO staff did not accurately process 36 (51 percent) of 71 disability claims reviewed. We sampled claims we considered at higher risk of processing errors, thus these results do not represent this VARO’s overall accuracy in processing disability claims. Specifically, 22 of 29 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations were inaccurate, generally because staff did not timely act on reminder notifications for medical reexaminations. VARO staff incorrectly processed 4 of 14 traumatic brain injury (TBI) claims, primarily by using insufficient medical examination reports. VARO staff also incorrectly processed 10 of 28 special monthly compensation (SMC) and ancillary benefit claims due to lack of training. Nine of 11 Systematic Analyses of Operations (SAOs) were untimely; 7 of the 9 were also incomplete. Management did not timely complete the SAOs scheduled for fiscal year 2014 due to lack of oversight. Further, VARO staff delayed completion of 15 of 30 benefits reduction cases because management did not prioritize this work. We recommended the VARO Director implement a plan to ensure timely and appropriate action on reminder notifications for medical reexaminations and review and take appropriate action on the 275 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations remaining from our inspection universe. We also recommended the VARO Director ensure required staff receive training on identifying insufficient TBI examinations and properly processing SMC and ancillary benefit claims, provide oversight and training on SAOs, and develop a plan to prioritize action on benefit reduction cases. The VARO Director concurred with all recommendations.