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The VA has introduced a new issue-based accuracy rate, which scores somewhat higher — but auditors questioned that measure, saying the VA ignores commonly accepted statistical methods in making the calculations.

VBA is producing imprecise estimates of accuracy that, while not completely reliable, are being used by program managers to guide improvement efforts,” Daniel Bertoni, director of education, workforce and income security issues at the Government Accountability Office, testified. “VBA also missed an opportunity to win the public’s trust when it introduced a new accuracy measure without full explanation of its meaning and limitations. At the same time, VBA is expending more resources than needed to produce its accuracy estimates — resources that could be better used to achieve more precise estimates or drill down on error trends to guide improvement efforts.”

Meanwhile, the whistleblowers said their efforts to warn superiors of botched processing and other problems were ignored.

Kristen Ruell, a quality review specialist in the VA’s Philadelphia Regional Office, said she’s warned her bosses about shredding of mail, bad payments made to veterans and botched interpretations of federal law.

“Instead of solving the problems, I was — and continue to be — retaliated against by the VA,” she said.

Ms. Ruell said her managers are “morally bankrupt” people who are more interested in manipulating data to win bonuses than they are in helping veterans and their survivors get the benefits they are entitled to.

The VA is facing a number of allegations of ignoring whistleblowers, and just last month was excoriated by the Office of Special Counsel for failing to take action on a number of complaints that appear to be substantiated.