Thursday, August 20, 2015

Los Angeles VA Caught Shredding Unprocessed Veterans Benefits Claims

by JASmius

I know, you were expecting the headline to read, "Los Angeles VA Caught Shredding Veterans".  Which is not actually outside the bounds of plausibility.  That's why I'm keeping that headline in reserve for when it proves necessary to deploy it.

But this story is bad enough for now:

Although we cannot quantify or identify claims-related documents that the VARO may have shredded prior to our review, we found nine claims-related documents that VARO staff incorrectly....


....placed in personal shred bins for non-claims related documents. Eight of the nine documents had the potential to affect veterans’ benefits and one had no effect on the veteran’s benefits.…

Because the Los Angeles VARO did not consistently follow VBA’s controls, it is likely that VARO staff would have inappropriately destroyed the nine claims-related documents we found. The shredding of these documents would have prevented the documents from becoming part of the veterans’ permanent record and potentially affect veterans’ benefits.

And if it happened nine times in LA, it has probably happened a hundredfold more just there, times all the VA facilities in their "single-payer" system.  Whether the VA "inspector-generals" will bother to trouble themselves to find out is anybody's guess.  It goes without saying that they won't actually do anything about it.

Which matters little, since this is what the VA considers "doing something about it":

The VA has been receiving complains of improper shredding of benefits claims since 2008. In classic bureaucratic response, it created a new position for VA offices, the Records Management Officer. [emphasis added]

Wait for it, wait for it....

The creation of a new permanent position did not stop the erroneous shredding. In fact, the Los Angeles VA did not have an RMO from August 2014 until the IG’s surprise inspection in February. [emphasis added]

Of course it didn't....aaaaaaand didn't.

In a sane world we'd blow up the whole damn thing and privatize it, but ours isn't....oh, heck, you know the drill.

And the one to follow....

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