Report Summary

Title: Audit of VISN 7 Power Wheelchair and Scooter Repairs
Report Number: 16-04655-70 Download
Issue Date: 3/14/2018
City/State: Birmingham, AL
Dublin, GA
Tuskegee, AL
Montgomery, AL
Augusta, GA
Charleston, SC
Tuscaloosa, AL
Columbia, SC
VA Office: Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Audit
Release Type: Unrestricted

The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted this audit at the request of Senator Johnny Isakson who was concerned that delays in the repair of VA-issued power wheelchairs and scooters at the Atlanta VA Health Care System placed veterans at physical and financial risk. To evaluate these concerns, the OIG assessed the timeliness of power wheelchair and scooter repairs at Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 7 VA medical facilities. The OIG confirmed that VISN 7 medical facilities, including the Atlanta VA Health Care System, did not ensure the timely completion of repair. The OIG used a 30-day benchmark to assess timeliness because Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service does not have a timeliness standard for the completion of repairs. Subsequently, the OIG projected 380 veterans in VISN 7 experienced delays in the completion of approximately 480 repairs in FY 2016. Furthermore, these veterans waited an average of 69 days for their repairs to be completed. These delays occurred because VISN 7 Prosthetic Service managers lacked policies to ensure VA medical facility staff promptly input repair requests and prosthetic service purchasing staff monitored repairs from inception to completion and held vendors accountable for the timely completion of repairs. Although the OIG could not confirm that the delayed power wheelchair and scooter repairs financially impacted veterans, it confirmed that some veterans experienced physical hardships related to the delays. The OIG recommended the VISN 7 Director implement controls to ensure VA medical facility staff: initiated repair consults as soon as repair requests were received; followed consult documentation procedures; monitored and followed up on repairs through completion; and monitored vendors to ensure the completion of repairs by agreed-upon delivery dates. The VISN 7 Director concurred with our report and recommendations, and provided an action plan to address the recommendations. The OIG considered the action plan acceptable.