OIG: More VA Claims Shredding Problems

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Shredding

Benjamin KrauseA VA OIG audit found that over one-third of claims-related documents were incorrectly put into shredding bins at six VA regional offices. Many of those documents had the potential to affect the benefits sought.

The implicated offices were Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Reno and Philadelphia.

The shredding of claims documents is not new. Ten years ago, Wisconsin veteran Keith Roberts caught Milwaukee RO shredding documents including his own.

To show their appreciation, the Department of Veterans Affairs orchestrated a now reversed fraud case against him. Roberts spent four years in federal prison until the charges were reversed because Roberts was entitled to the benefits VA claimed as part of the fraud.

RELATED: Board Still Haunts Roberts After Prison Release

So how does it work that the same agency guilty of fraud with unclean hands was able to aptly investigate a Vietnam veteran who caught them in the fraud?

RELATED: Jailed Veteran Case Gets Even More Bizarre

The VA OIG report concluded:

“Considering that there are 56 [VA regional offices], and if weekly shredding is conducted, it is highly likely that claims-related documents at other VAROs are being improperly scheduled for destruction that could result in loss of claims and evidence, incorrect decisions and delays in claims processing.”

How is it that VA continues to get caught shredding VA claims records without ramification or repercussion?

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/04/18/va-accused-shredding-documents-needed-for-veterans-claims.html

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62 Comments

  1. Shredding is altering…Claims documents are federal records…illegal altering federal documents is a felony…CALL THE FBI AND PUT THESE PEOPLE IN JAIL…

      • It is the one place veterans are chosen first. Ask any one on a desk if they were a veteran. Both of my NP C&P examiners last July were former medics. Only physicians who were brought along by scholarship by the VA didn’t serve. But a lot of them also did time in the military to pay off scholarships.

        Yes, Veterans screw veterans. Or were you never screwed by anyone while in? Maybe it is a little tighter crew since it became an all volunteer service. VSO’s who fail in their representation of veterans are all veterans. Have to be to join the VSO.

        Have you been blind sided? Start checking yourself.

      • Why do veterans have to file a SF 95? Because just claims are denied. And how many just give up? Accept the inadequate representation of a VSO?

        How many Cerebral Malaria victims have been compensated.

        So you want the VA to investigate themselves? How about the Phoenix and Cheyenne VA crisis. Did you look at the resumes of the Directors?

      • James, I’ve been getting medical care from the VA since 1983. My medical file is over 18 inches thick. My C&P file (which has the medical file plus) is over 30 inches thick. And I’ve had the good sense to ask the server if they had served, especially after the lame “Thank you for your service” mandated by policy and often mouthed insincerely. The only “Thank You” I want is that which is mandated by 38 CFR under Section 4(d) of the 14TH Amendment.

  2. How about finally REMOVING ALL SHREDDERS from *ANY* VARO/VAMC? Because it’s quite evident at this point the VA cannot be trusted with ANY records destruction device…none…the VA is essentially a massive Insurance Company. What good can come of it with no proper accountability?
    These VA Employees cannot be trusted with a box of Pop Tarts and a Toaster, why continue to allow this shredder nonsense?!! A shredder to the VA is a “records and VA liability destruction device”, and the VA cannot and should not be trusted with such.

    These VA Employees at all levels are like a bunch of petulant children that as soon as you almost turn your back they are right back to what they were scolded for by VA OIG. The VA and VAOIG definitely have a codependent relationship that ensures both entity’s survival, period!

    Maybe the VA should have photos of kittens and puppies placed all over the fronts of all their shredders that depict those records as their own pets to prevent this nonsense from ever raising it’s insane head again???? An electrical shock on the handles if anyone touches it? Again, how about removing all the damn shredders???

    • I had an appointment scheduled years ago at the VA and had to cancel it that morning. A friend of mine had an appointment in the same clinic that day, called and told me he saw records with my name on it in the trash can. The doctor was writing things up for the appointment I had to cancel, and when I did, he just three them in the trash. I called the Chief of Staff who initially sounded flippant about it. She called me later and said she found them in the trash exactly as I described. After a meeting with her and the Director, their solution was to put shredders in every clinic. I don’t recall their answer on why the record was not in my medical record.

      Rather than shredding any paper they see, it should be mandatory to mail any record with a veterans identifying information on it to that veteran and letting the veteran decide whether it should be kept.

  3. I remember seeing my ‘original’ Army + Navy medical files.
    When the VA received them, on the outside cover was the “time/date stamp” of when they were sent, (St. Louis), and received, (VA)!
    Below that was a stamped “warning”! The warning was where the file was NOT to be altered, pages removed, (False) records to be placed in the file or DESTROYED!
    Therefore, VA’s are committing a Federal Crime by shredding any documents. Which could help a veteran receive disability compensation. It could also help a veteran receive proper medical care!

    Our “Law Makers” and Law Enforcement Agencies need to stop VA’s from this illegal practice. They need to start enforcing the laws they passed and are mandated to enforce. Until this happens, all will remain the same!

  4. OMG!!! He blows the whistle on them and he gets 4 years hard time??? Are they going to compensate him for this???

  5. This article goes hand in hand with the April 13th article titled “Veterans Affairs To Build New National Archives”

    “https://www.disabledveterans.org/2016/04/13/veterans-affairs-to-build-national-archives/”

    Just think how much shredding will be going on after the VA gets their hands on the records currently being protected at the National Archives. One big shred-a-thon.

  6. I “I Blew the whistle” and i am into my sixth year of 24 hr/ 7 day/week “Gang surveillance (Stalking) by the VA OIG third party contractors. I need to know how i can request that charges be filed immediately and i be allowed a trial by jury. I would ask that all witnesses be deposed and testify.

    • Send a freedom of infomaation act request to the va oig office and request all documents they have about you. Knowledge is power. Know yourself and know your enemy and you will prevail. Step one is ask them officially what they are up to. Proceed from there and never give up my brother.

      Semper Fi

    • Let me tell you from experience – no law enforcement available to you has the authority to challenge VA. If you call FBI, State Police, Sherrif, or any other, they will politely infom you of same. No prosecuter can therefor bring charges, pr just will not be ause how could they prosecute when you cannot compell anyone under force to cooperate? The VA has a position carved out in more hideous fashion than the sands of Iwo Jima. They will have to be rooted out, and no part of it will be easy. It will require countless vets to step up once more for the country. It sucks, doesn’t it soldier?

      Our law enforcement derives its powers from the same general place as a federal agency, and military. You cannot legally challenge the source with itself. Go to the press and sell your case when you have printed proof. This taps the will of the source and yanks chains. No human alive will help you with this. It is a lonely and expensive jouney. I know. It’s ok by me personally though….I am a Marine after all and we Marinesdon’t feel pain. My drill insructor told me that, and he never lied…

      Semper Fi

  7. How does this continue to happen? Simple. No political will to demand accountability. No political will to pass legislation allowing a veteran to sue those responsible for fraud.

    • @91Veteran
      I agree.
      Yet, legislation was made for family members being able to sue other countries for killing our military members.
      But, GOD forbid IF we were allowed to sue VA, (alleged) physicians and other healthcare (non)professionals, for a miriad of fubars they commit against us!

      I read this morning where families can sue for the attack on Beirut in 1983(?), which took the lives of around 243+/- marines!

      And of course, this new ‘bill’ which is going through the House. To allow people to sue Saudi Arabia for 9/11!
      A few things here –
      1.) IF it makes it through the House and Senate. AND IF Obama signs it into law. (Which he’s already said it would be “Vetoed”)
      2.) The Saudi’s have threatened to “…sell off $750 BILLION worth of finances we owe…” to them!
      3.) Which this could cause a “financial collapse” the many pundants have been warning us about, in either May or possibly June 2016.
      4.) Which IF this occurs, we are ALL screwed!

      • I don’t know what to think of suing the Saudis and them dumping our debt. This kinda came out of nowhere and makes me wonder if it’s tied to Obama’s deal with the Iranians. It just seems weird…as if some political game is being played behind the scenes that we don’t know of.

        Which brings me to my point. For many years the Iranian hostages tried suing Iran for taking them hostage, and for many years the US government blocked them. Uncle Sugar claimed it was blocked to force the Iranians to negotiate on certain things. We see how well that worked out. Back when the hostages first tried suing, Iran had frozen assets in the US totaling under $5 billion. We see how much was released to them under Obama’s nutty deal. As far as I know, the hostages were never successful in suing. Now that Obama gave the Iranians back their stuff, I wonder if that opened the floodgates for suing others.

    • My opinion, brother, is this.

      Obama, for some reason, has become “friendly” with our enemies, (kau-tauing to the Saudi dictator), and is forsaking our true (“Christian”) friends.
      I’m not sure what his agenda is. He’s definitely not protecting the American people! Which, by the way, is his “Constitutional Duty”!

      There has to be something very damaging in those “(redacted) 28 pages” of the “9/11 Report”! Which are being withheld from everyone!

      Here’s something former Mayor Rudio Guiliani said yesterday or this morning I find interesting. Right after the attacks on 9/11, he said “…[he] received a $10 million dollar check from a Saudi Prince!” He went on to say he “…tore it up…” and told the Prince to “…burn it in hell!”
      There was no other explanation as to a “WHY”!? Especially, since we were supposed to be “allied” with Saudi Arabia at that time!

      Then, of course, within hours after the attacks, during the grounding of all civilian aircraft. Bush allowed any and all of Bin Ladin’s family members AND any and all Saudi’s to fly out. Coincidence? Or an agenda? There’s speculation by former FBI and CIA members, Bush, (and others in his cabinet), didn’t want them interrogated. WHY?
      That, in their opinion, was suspicious, and against all law enforcement protocol, to say the least!

      I truely believe we will never learn the truth in our lifetime!

      On the 6 pm local news Iran will owe the families of those 241 Marines murdered in Beirut $2 billion in reparations. (Good freaking luck collecting!)
      So I guess, either Iran will give us monies back out of the $150 BILLION Kerry gave them. Or, Iran will say screw you to the United States. Just like they’ve been saying to us over that stupid deal Kerry made, ie; firing missles and a bunch of other things their not supposed to be doing!!!

      Which way do y’all think it will go?

      • I had forgotten Iran was behind the Beirut bombing. Interesting we are hearing about Iran being sued for that now that Obama has released their assets.

        As for the Saudis, I don’t recall if they are Sunni or Shia, but I thought they were one and Iran was the other.

        What I can’t figure is this: I read an article that these 28 pages have been known about since 2003. Why are we hearing rumbling about releasing them now?

        Its almost like Obama is pissed off with them for some reason, and has decided to put the screws to them.

  8. I once tried feeding strawberries to our cows for many days. No matter how many they ate, their milk was still white, ans their pies still wet, moist, and punguent. I guess if we keep geeding VA money, we will keep getting the same pie. As for me, I got rid of the cows, because I could not stand the smell of cow pie.

    • Dennis, I agree with you completely. As much as some don’t want to see the VA privatized, I think it’s long past due. At least companies have ‘some’ accountability, and at the rate the VA has gone, ‘some’ is better than than the none we’re getting.

      Politicians only pay attention in election years, and nothing gets done, and all things VA stay the same and we veterans suffer for it.

    • Great analogy Dennis! Get rid of the cows, the IRS, the VA, numerous other Government Agencies, and politicians!

  9. It is the money.

    VA compensation competes with military hardware.

    Millions can be spent bribing individuals to destroy documents that would result in numerous veterans getting compensation. Add up the numbers. Look at the years TBI victims were not compensated prior to 2008 and cannot be compensated for years prior to 2008. It is billions. So a few people in a VA central office can put their thumb on the scale against thousands of veterans and pocket some change. The question is, how does the military industrial complex launder the bribes? I think I know but have no way to prove it.

  10. Wow Phillidalpha,that’s where my husbands claim has been sitting for a long time now. One time he calls and they say it’s being received infront of the appeals board. The next time he calls they say they have no claim on file.

  11. All this stuff was supposed to be investigated and then gone two years ago, but yet it’s still going on. Where’s Bob McDonald at? What’s he doing about all of this? Why isn’t Congress stepping up to the plate and taking up for veterans?….Nothing ever changes at the VA. It just gets perpetually worse!

  12. Philly VAMC regional office run by Diane Rubins, due you remember her and her friend. she laughed at everyone and she’s at it again, guess she will make a big Bonus this year. Really I don’t understand why the FBI or the Attorney General does not step in and arrest these people. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me !

    This means that many veterans will not have the proof to have their claims granted. How many are going to die due to lack of treatment, how many are going to give up and kill themselves ! Are our elected officials so heartless that they will not get to the bottom of this. I stomach dropped when I seen Bens post. If our elected officials wont hold VA employees accountable, close it down and let veterans see whom they want, they are destroying peoples lives, I didn’t say veterans. Because it seems no one care for the word, so we are like everyone else people and we the people say do you job Senators and Congress, stop those employees from hurting the people who defended this country.

    Bob McDonald should be outraged and say that’s enough and just fire Rubins and anyone else who was going to shred those records, They had to know by know the regulations and seems like they would tripled checked before doing anything with them. Why build a new storage facility if they are shredding records, are they going to box up the shredded records.

    this is truly unbelievable !

    • Mr.James,I haven’t had my record shredded HOWEVER,x7 months ago I had to beg for an MRI ,I was OrthopedIc in the military so I knew my knee was injured.sure enough,a tornACL. THE ORTHOPEDIC DR DISMISSED AS NOTHING,I knew it a non weight bearing but since OrthopedIc clinic dismiss as nothing it took x7 Mon to finally acquiring a wheelchair,+ the new xray show severe damage that now needs a TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT.
      DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN BRING A TORT CLAIM AGAINST THE PERSON CAUSING INJURY OR ADVANCES INJURY. MY ONLY ISSUE NOW IS HARASSMENT BY OTH E R DOCTORS.THEVA STAFF GAVE ME THE FORMS.You can sue an individual).

      • VA Neurologist ignored my first EEG in CA rehab that showed epileptiform spiking with or without seizures. Complaints were lapses or space outs observed by my family and friends. Psychiatrists recorded “latencies” instead of absences (partial seizures) and “lack of affect” instead of complex partial seizures or stuporous instead of psychomotor seizures. No drug dependency and never had positive drug test for anything that wasn’t prescribed. Started on antidepressants, which often mask epileptiform tracings, before the first VA neurologist’s EEG was ordered. Some were recorded abnormal and others WNL with virtually the same descriptions of the tracings but stating the “abnormal” tracings were “drug affect”.

        Had psychiatrist C&P examiner report I was unemployable in 1992 but was granted no increase from 30% for the “traumatic brain disease” diagnosis in 1985 for my TBI that was converted to “organic personality disorder” by the “neurologist C&P” (not his ball park to decide”.

      • Had more than you can count. Only the abnormal ones disappear from the C&P file. I have copies from most of them from my medical file.

        My attorney will ask for a University Medical School TBI review of my record from the court if the SF 95 doesn’t generate a fair review, the one that the adjudicators are supposed to request per 38 CFR 4.16.

        And my file is full of my letter to the VA, my Congressman and including to appeals to the Court that were ignored. The courts do not believe a pro se litigant and so only read the opposition attorney and find according to their analysis.

        Tort is different. It goes to a Judge, Arbitration, and then if not settled to trial before a jury if you request one. And this time I do have an attorney so the Judge (actually the judge’s lazy clerk) will read my side pleadings.

  13. There is more on TV about transgenders using bathroom’s that about how veterans are dying and shredding of records. Go Figure ! What bathroom is Diane Rubins going to use. That would make the papers or the news.

  14. To all.
    Keep a copy of all your military records, medical and (Army 201) personnel files, on hand.
    Keep, on file, every visit to the VA. No matter VARO’s or VAMC’s or clinics!

    When VA tells you they “…don’t have anything on file!” Tell them you’ll send them whatever copy they need. Only after they send you a request in writing!

    On the third time, take everything to your Congressperson AND Senator.
    Keep the conversation going every couple of weeks or so.
    Tell them VA must be destroying your files. To keep you from receiving what your requesting!

    Never give up! It’s in your “Creed!”

    • It’s been said, No one knows how World War 3 will be fought. Maybe nuclear, Maybe biological, Maybe EMP’s, Maybe larger conventional weaponry.
      But, “World War 4 WILL be fought with sticks and stones!”

      Scary thought huh!

  15. Dennis, Thanks for the information. Sorry your in pain my man. I think i will get a legal opinion as to the role of the DOJ in my situation and the steps i should take going forward.Thanks again.

  16. It would be really nice if the Obama Justice Department would prosecute some of these jackasses for tampering with evidence in a criminal matter, spoliation of evidence and about 6 or 8 more charges that would be a walk-over to prove

    • Yes, and false imprisonment. How much is 4 years of this poor guys life worth, not to mention others who have DIED waiting for treatment!

    • Do you know can a Veteran Medical Center Police Officer come in Veteran Patient Advocate Office with a Veteran to hear what a Veteran has to say plus to hear what a Veteran Patient Advocate have to say?

    • VA Neurologist ignored my first EEG in CA rehab that showed epileptiform spiking with or without seizures. Complaints were lapses or space outs observed by my family and friends. Psychiatrists recorded “latencies” instead of absences (partial seizures) and “lack of affect” instead of complex partial seizures or stuporous instead of psychomotor seizures. No drug dependency and never had positive drug test for anything that wasn’t prescribed. Started on antidepressants, which often mask epileptiform tracings, before the first VA neurologist’s EEG was ordered. Some were recorded abnormal and others WNL with virtually the same descriptions of the tracings but stating the “abnormal” tracings were “drug affect”.

      Had psychiatrist C&P examiner report I was unemployable in 1992 but was granted no increase from 30% for the “traumatic brain disease” diagnosis in 1985 for my TBI that was converted to “organic personality disorder” by the “neurologist C&P” (not his ball park to decide”.

      • They wait for you to die. $500 per month for 200,000 Vietnam veterans in the same situation whether from subtle residuals of TBI or cerebral malaria (p. falciparum) (ice showers with more than 12 hours amnesia, severe cramps and headache) amounts to $100,000,000 per month or $1.2 Billion per year that competes in the budget for money that would otherwise be spent on military hardware to the benefit of Wall Street. Wonder why? Maybe someone is getting a take under the table. That is a lot of money and a few million in bribes would be well supported.

      • Lemuel (Lem) Bray is right. This also explains why vets die waiting for treatment……..

        April 24, 2016 at 8:32 am

        They wait for you to die. $500 per month for 200,000 Vietnam veterans in the same situation whether from subtle residuals of TBI or cerebral malaria (p. falciparum) (ice showers with more than 12 hours amnesia, severe cramps and headache) amounts to $100,000,000 per month or $1.2 Billion per year that competes in the budget for money that would otherwise be spent on military hardware to the benefit of Wall Street. Wonder why? Maybe someone is getting a take under the table. That is a lot of money and a few million in bribes would be well supported.

  17. I don’t know how many veterans are working for the VA and how many are involved in bad behavior, The people reported on this site, most are not veterans. Yes the VSO’s do not help as they should. Bray I worked 24 years not in claims, but in a hospital setting as an Administrative Assistant for patient care and if I ever seen or heard of someone doing something wrong I would report it on a report of contact.

    To blanket Veteran employees as screwing other veterans, I never seen. Yes I believe their are Veteran employees that will do as management say’s but I require Proof, not Hearsay ! That’s what VA employees do is spread stories and have no proof ! of it ever happening.

    The VA Regional office lied to me for forty years about my records being destroyed in the saint louis fire and I know that Management is behind everything going on at the VA and they are the ones running the show and think the are God like. I have meet many Veteran employees and we, they are very concerned about what’s going on as they tell each other. many have turned in employees that are hurting veterans.

    The problem is Management and the VA policies, like the employee who lied about the veteran in the video, he blamed the veteran, even when the video shows other wise and the VA, gave him a ticket ?, that is patient abuse and the Employee should have been charged by the police on the outside and made to face a Judge.

    They can and do accuse veterans of disruptive behavior anytime they want and lie about it and get away with it !

    This committee is hurting more veterans than helping, they are training employees self defense classes to take down veterans and all they have to say is he was Disruptive and the veteran is blamed, with no way to defend themselves. It should be mandatory that all VA facilities have cameras every where except where they have to change. Or let veterans record their visits.

    All I am saying is Most veteran employees are there to help and when one blames most of them with wrongdoing and has no proof, they should not be accused until their is proof ! The VA has enough employees that hate the veterans and we don’t need to piss off the Veteran employees, who are trying to help.

    Proof is the key word ! with out proof its all hearsay and if hearsay is proof, then everyone is in real danger !

    • I did not intend to blanket. Most veterans serve even in the VA. But there are those who are goldbrickers and con artists. In it for themselves. And chances are if you were screwed by the VA it was by one of those veterans or by a career lackey installed by political influence to screw veterans.

      The veteran who is an employee in such situations is up against it for whistle blowing. All he can do is get the most he can for those he serves honoring the “no one left behind” commitment.

      But the system is corrupt. Read this for an example of what was done by military men to military men: https://writerbeat.com/articles/5984-PEER-REVIEW-COMPLAINT

    • The two NP’s who did my last C&P (for the BVA) were both veterans of the current wars. They lied about reading my “hard copy file” and made no references to it even though if they had even bothered to read my NOD they would have had to refer to a C&P exam by a psychiatrist that said I was unemployable and also the previous service connection to the condition of, “organic brain syndrome” (under various diagnostic conditions falling under compensation code 8045).

      Also they denied service connection for tinnitus period even though it was previously a 10% compensation from 1989. However the first recording was noted by me as being in 1965 when I was first diagnosed, while in the Navy, as having constant tinnitus of “bird chirping” with intermittent constant tonal tinnitus during efforts to listen intently. The 10% should have been from 1974 when I was discharged and should have been granted by my first adjudication in 1976.

      The audiologist who think that “tinnitus” occurs for everyone and therefore do not record it in their report are not aware of the difficulty presented by it for those of us who have the constant problem as opposed to an infrequent intermittent problem.

      So I was screwed by two veterans who were doing C&P evaluations for the VA in Cheyenne, WY. Is that because their supervisor rewrote the report? I don’t know but I know that has been done. In 1985 the Chief of psychiatry in the Downtown VA Clinic negated the diagnosis of PTSD for me because the C&P examiner failed to mention “numbing” specifically in the exam report all though there were numerous references to numbing in my progress notes. So you are right the administration does override decisions of competent direct providers of VA services.

      • That is what I think also. And they certainly didn’t do the review that was requested of them. Nor did they forward it to the Director of Compensation as required by 38 CFR 4.16

      • It was in appeal when they got the order for the C&P. In addition I just filed a SF 95 Tort claim.

        I’m more employable now than I was at 30. And now I’m on a seizure medication that stops the spells that the psychiatrist said made me unemployable in 1992.

      • Denied any increase from the 40% added in 2011 that brought me to 70% combined. The 2011 decision pyramided a rating for TBI (which I all ready had as traumatic brain disease–organic personality disorder AKA diagnostic code 8045-something and now contrary to 38 CFR 4.14 which specifically references the diagnostic code 8045.

        Was amused because the rating board wasn’t in position to make the decision. The physical was a remand from the BVA because of my appeal. And they ignored my NOD completely.

        They also ignored their responsibilities under 38 CFR 4.2 through 4.16

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