Audit Of Reno VA Paints Critical Picture

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RENO, NV - The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has released an audit of the Reno Veterans Affairs Regional Office (VARO).

The OIG team focused on disability evaluations and claims, traumatic brain injury claims, and special monthly benefits among other components. Throughout the inspection, reports were inaccurate, insufficient, incomplete and untimely according to the OIG.

The report states VARO did not process 51 percent of disability claims reviewed. Compliance was not met in some instances and because of that the Veterans Business Administration (VBA) may have paid inaccurate financial benefits.

VARO staff delayed completion of 50 percent of benefit reduction cases due to management not prioritizing the cases.

22 of 29 temporary 100 percent disability evaluations were inaccurate and VARO staff incorrectly processed a number of traumatic brain injury claims by using insufficient medical reports. VARO management and staff were to blame according to IOG.

The VBA policy requires a temporary 100 percent disability following surgery or when treatment is needed.

After treatment, VARO staff must request a follow-up examination to determine if the veteran's treatment will continue.

Due to management oversight, the VA overpaid 15 veterans with 76 payments totaling $98,133. The payments occurred between December 2012 to January 2014.

The OIG has recommended that VARO Director Ed Russell construct a plan that will ensure timely action for medical examinations, disability evaluations and staff training.

The OIG conducted the inspection in accordance with the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency's Quality Standards for Inspection and Evaluation.