Paperwork issues at N.Y. offices reveal more bad news for VA

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Staff at Veterans’ Affairs offices in New York failed to accurately process nearly a third of disability claims examined by the department’s Inspector General, a report that casts an even hotter spotlight on problems at the VA.

Inspectors found that 27 of the 90 disability claims they reviewed had issues. As a result, the offices may have paid out inaccurate and unnecessary financial benefits.

Employees at the Veterans’ Benefits Administration failed to order medical re-examinations, did not apply the correct criteria to traumatic brain injury claims and had trouble with special monthly compensation and ancillary benefits payments.

“Generally, these errors occurred because [Veterans’ Affairs Regional Offices] staff did not follow VBA policy to forward these complex claims to a specialized team for evaluation,” said the report from Linda A. Halliday, assistant inspector general for audits and evaluations.

The regional offices agreed with recommendations designed to improve timely and accurate processing of medical examinations and other evaluations.

The VA has faced a string of negative headlines in recent months, after revelations that its Phoenix office concealed waiting times and that veterans died while waiting for care. A steady stream of similar reports out of other regional offices reached crisis levels in Washington, leading to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation.

President Obama will nominate a former top executive at Proctor and Gamble to be the next VA secretary.

Bob McDonald, the former chief executive officer at Proctor and Gamble, led the company from 2009 to 2013. The Chicago-area native graduated at the top of his class from West Point and served in the Army for five years after graduation, rising to the rank of captain.

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