Washington, D.C.一Yesterday, Congressman Michael Cloud (TX-27) introduced a bill to benefit veterans and promote government accountability by providing the necessary oversight to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs quality assurance program. This will ensure our nation’s heroes receive the quality service they’ve earned.
The VA relies on its quality assurance program to identify errors and ensure veterans’ claims are decided accurately. Unfortunately, a VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation found major problems with how the quality assurance program actually functions, including incorrectly overturned errors and untimely error corrections. For example, according to one OIG report…
“. . . regional office managers acknowledged overturning valid errors based on personal judgment in violation of Veteran Benefits Administration’s procedures… the team estimated regional office managers inappropriately overturned 430 of 870 quality reviews (about 50 percent) when employees requested reconsideration.”
Similarly, the OIG team determined that the office of Field Operations did not ensure corrections to identified errors were made in a timely manner.
According to OIG:
Failed to correct 2,000 out of 4,400 errors within the required 5 business days.
810 out of 4,400 (18%) were not corrected at all.
Congressman Cloud’s bill would address these issues by requiring the Secretary of the VA to develop and implement a written plan to strengthen oversight of the quality assurance program and monitor the plan to ensure identified issues are properly taken care of. The bill would require the VA to issue a report on the plan’s implementation annually for 5 years to track the results.
Secondly, the bill requires the Veterans’ Benefits Administration to produce an annual report compiling a summary list of common recurring deficiencies and action items identified throughout the inspection year and requires they be addressed.
Lastly, the bill would require the Government Accountability Office to do a feasibility study on removing the quality assurance program outside the VA to an independent entity contracted with the VA to enhance objectivity.
“It is our duty to ensure our nation’s heroes are afforded the quality care and assistance they have earned through their years of service to our nation,” Congressman Cloud said. “This means strengthening the VA’s quality assurance program and fixing any deficiencies within the program. My bill provides the necessary oversight and offers a solution to a clear problem within the VA.”
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