Report Summary

Title: Inspection of the VA Regional Office Providence, Rhode Island
Report Number: 11-03465-58
Issue Date: 1/3/2012
City/State: Providence, RI
VA Office: Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Benefits Inspection
Release Type: Unrestricted
Summary: We conducted this inspection to evaluate how well the VARO accomplishes this mission. We found the Providence VARO staff provided adequate outreach to homeless shelters and service providers. VARO performance was generally effective in processing herbicide exposure-related and homeless veterans’ claims and in correcting errors identified by VBA’s internal review program. However, 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 medical reexaminations. Also, VARO staff used inadequate exam reports to process traumatic brain injury claims. They also did not correctly process 25 (37 percent) of the 68 disability claims we sampled during our inspection. VARO management did not ensure staff timely completed Systematic Analyses of Operations, properly processed mail, and accurately addressed Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment. Further, processing of competency determinations was not fully effective, resulting in unnecessary delays in making final decisions.