OIG: L.A. VA Office Improperly Designated Documents for Shredding
The Los Angeles Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office inappropriately designated claims files to be shredded without processing them first, according to a VA Office of Inspector General report released Tuesday, the Washington Times reports (Shastry, Washington Times, 8/19).
VA OIG found nine claims-related documents that likely would have been shredded without first being processed, according to the report. Of those, eight could have affected veterans' benefits (VA OIG report, 8/17).
According to VA OIG, two homeless veterans submitted claims for disability compensation that were incorrectly marked for shredding. In addition, the report found a letter from one veteran's physician, which stated the veteran was unemployable because of service-connected post-traumatic stress disorder, had been marked for shredding (Washington Times, 8/17). According to the report, the letter was not enough to trigger filing an official claim for the veteran. However, had the letter been shredded, the office would not have informed the veteran about the additional information it needed to decide on the claim, according to VA OIG (VA OIG report, 8/17).
VA OIG said it could not determine how many claims possibly had been destroyed before the issue was detected.
VA said there is no evidence that supervisors told employees to destroy the claims. In response to the investigation, VA in a statement said it would try to improve the issue and "work diligently to ensure that [veterans and their families] receive all benefits they earned" (Washington Times, 8/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.