OIG holds the VA accountable


Last updated 7/28/2021 at 10:01am | View PDF

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs has been busy. Despite COVID, the OIG managed to keep working, and it has checked in with its congressionally required six-month report. The eye automatically zips to the bottom line: The dollar impact from its efforts during the past six months amounts to $1,923,417,054.

You don’t need to count the commas; that’s 1.9 billion dollars it identified in one way or another. For every dollar in the OIG budget, it got back $21 in return.

During the six months, the OIG made 109 arrests, issued 652 administrative sanctions, put out 124 publications, talked to 14,129 hotline contacts and made 389 recommendations to the VA.

The biggest category in that $1.9 billion is “Fines, Penalties, Forfeitures, Restitution and Civil Judgments,” which brought in a cool $755 million.

The OIG put out some excellent reports during that time as well. Here are two:

-- The VBA (Veterans Benefits Admin) didn’t test the skills of claims processors from 2016 to 2019, even though it’s a congressionally mandated requirement. Not only did the VBA not provide additional training to many of those who failed the tests, it didn’t even bother to give skills tests to 4,700 of the 10,800 people who are processing claims.

-- VA health care had no way to track patients who had received various medical implants, such as cornea or dental. That means if there was a problem or a recall, there was no system in place to find those veterans. Of 10,000 purchases of implant material, 2,900 purchases were either miscategorized or not even put in the system, making them impossible to track. For 18 months, 45% weren’t tracked and $1.1 million in material (714 items) could not be located. Nearly 300 unrecorded items were found in storage.

(c) 2021 King Features Synd., Inc.


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