VA Evades Accountability During Congressional Hearing On Disability Exams

The House Committee on Veterans Affairs called in VA to explain the agency’s failure to manage its contractor exam program for disability compensation claims. To watch the video of the hearing, skip forward to minute 35.

According to a GAO report (released November 15), VA committed repeated failures in managing its contractors relied on by the agency to provide timely and accurate disability compensation exams:

The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has limited information on whether contractors who conduct disability compensation medical exams are meeting the agency’s quality and timeliness targets. VBA contracted examiners have completed a growing number of exams in recent years (see figure). VBA uses completed exam reports to help determine if a veteran should receive disability benefits. VBA reported that the vast majority of contractors’ quality scores fell well below VBA’s target—92 percent of exam reports with no errors—for the first half of 2017. Since then, VBA has not completed all its quality reviews, but has hired more staff to do them. VBA officials acknowledged that VBA also does not have accurate information on contractor timeliness. VBA officials said the exam management system used until spring 2018 did not always retain the initial exam report completion date, which is used to calculate timeliness. In spring 2018, VBA implemented a new system designed to capture this information.

Anyone watching the video will note the continued failure of VA to put forth officials with direct knowledge of why some decision were made that harmed the agency’s program. As I addressed yesterday, at least two of those officials were moved out of their leadership roles into the pasture of field offices to retire.

Why were they not brought back to answer questions? Why does Congress continue to give the agency a pass when calls for accountability are made?

Basically, the system VA created was not ready for deployment. Exams were not properly routed to the contractors providing the exams. This was in 2017. Thomas Murphy and Robert Reynolds were in positions of authority at that time and ultimately responsible. Further, VA paid over $10 million in unnecessary exams at the time.

Once this news broke, Messers. Murphy and Reynolds were swiftly reassigned to the field, while Margarita Devlin was promoted to Principal Deputy Under Secretary. It is worth watching and pontificating how Devlin was promoted while the others were put out to pasture.

Will Margarita save the day?

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  1. My problem with exams, and this would include at least a million other veterans is those of us who were contaminated, specifically those of us who may have the HLA-B27 gene, that made us more prone to suffer complications from Chemicals hat we were exposed to. They offer little outlook to autoimmune conditions which the HLA-B27 gene makes us more pron to get autoimmune conditions from exposure. Of course at the time we all was getting pounded by Chemicals nobody knew about some of us being more susceptible. Now we do. But VA exams don’t reflect current science. Being of Northern African-Basque/Irish decent I had to go outside of VA to even be diagnosed with Systemic sclerosis as VA could not come up with answers, even though all it took was ANA test, and few other test they just did not want to pay for over the years. I am by far not the only veteran who has suffered over the last 80 years of using specific chemicals like Benzene, TCE,PCE,Etc… They mention camp Lejuene but VA knows many people are not having problems like autoimmune conditions, but those that do are not being noted in exams. The entire problem leaves some veterans going back again and again with no help , diagnoses, or resolution.

    1. Can’t find much more info about all that Kat. Just about the same vids i.e.

      Fires 3,600 From Washington’s Most Corrupt Agency
      “” and a couple others.

      I’d like to know who, from where, why, and is this firing going on today as well since things haven’t changed much. Sounds of silence from the MSM and news rags.

      Play games do the exams, not get to do exams, wait for exams or green flags, info stuffed away or lost in their multitude of systems and passing human hands. Then hear of vets being dead many years later during some investigations. Still dying waiting today. Perhaps Ben can get more info than us on this and how many are dead or dying due to the VA shuffle.

  2. The GAO report: “VA DISABILITY EXAMS, Improved Performance Analysis and Training Oversight Needed for Contracted Exams” lists 3 to 8% returned to contractor agencies for error. In the Hearing video, Representative Phil Roe, M.D., who is the Chair of the House Committee on Veteran Affairs attempted to pin down the quality assurance measures VBA uses to evaluate Contractor evaluations, but did not receive an answer despite repeating the question. It is clear he understands the value and importance of medical quality assurance from his physician background, yet VBA does not appear to have an effective quality assurance evaluation process in place.

    The problem is twofold – VBA has to ask the right question to the Contract agency in order to receive the necessary information from the disability evaluation, and the Contract agency has to be able to comprehend what within the evaluation will answer the question. Sounds simple here, but it isn’t! This is where the training needs to focus on both sides! Representative Roe is on the right track, and I hope he pursues his agenda!

  3. Never even got a C&P. “Where’s Cambodia?” Pity those poor buggers who are doing dark ops in the multiple bases and lily pods in Africa if/when they need help in the future. “We were never in Africa..”. Get’s me all flag-wavy n’shit.

  4. I just went through this with one of their contractors. A Nurse Practitioner with no human skills. She irritated me so much that I just walked out on her. 4 months later I met up with another contractor that was concerned with my condition and not so much with filling out the blank spaces on the form.

  5. All those pretty flags, all that ethics (sic), integrity (sic), truth (sic), excuses (sick). Gold trim on the Murikan flag don’t mean nothing. Big laugh. All those divisions…. little truth. So who represented the SES cliques, DHS, Pentagon who flunked their audits at? We are told or informed at times are the real ones “at the top.”
    “Everything, every thing, falls under DHS.” We see their puppets doing the same old crap, seems scripted, and giving the same excuses. We see those faces here that is impossible to contact or have them get interested, personally involved, in the many wrongs going on or within the scope of the mighty VA or “over-sight” committees. Didn’t hear anything about all those secretaries/contractors and others trained to insulate the elite from too many complaints, truths, or trained to put veterans on a Hamster’s exercise wheel of games, and buck passing to no end

    Contractors are and can be a total joke. I never have been able to discover info about those automatically deleted reports and emails within twelve hour increments before deletions between some “contractor” or their assessments/results and the VA. If you want a copy of something being told to wait for assessment result gathering or to be picked up later… but now gone. Seems nobody ever heard of such a thing and nobody wants to discuss it openly if they do, or uses it. Or will it show some contractors are right on while idiots doing the same tests through the VA are joke, been changed, lost, and different from the outsiders?

    Noticed they didn’t seem to want to mention the name of the non performing contractors.

    Quality of “claims?” What about quality of care or after care? Oh those damned “administrative errors.” A lot can be said about that and has. Oh the “positive” feed-back from groups like the VFW, etc. Say what? Oh yes… positivity no negatives allowed… bout anything. Follow-ups on individual “funneled” complaints? More horse shit and depends on who you are or how deep the corruption, incompetence, the activist or associations are, or, lack of ethics goes. We see how well they play the covering their own butts go.

    “Tens of thousands” VSOs out there with many playing VA cheerleaders, supporting rip-off groups, to supporting VA retaliatory actions, “not wanting involvement” due to politics (corruption/censoring,) having to keep everything appearing “positive,” plus civilians/contractors doing the same in stifling veterans complaints or the want for investigations or wishing for some “over-sight” committees to take some action against the quagmire of crap many deal with? “On the ground feed-back?” Difficult to fight city hall, boards, professions, country clubbers, the politics, foreigners, the insiders and connected making billions of dollars. Total horse shit. They want to run from people like me or get us destroyed by any means possible. Would Ms. Devlon take a call from me? Or a funneled gripe? I/and others gotta better chance at hitting the lottery. Would be like a call from Congress wanting to hear our stories…. not an ice-cubes chance in hell of that happening.

    Might help some to stop all the dumb-ass wars and conflicts happening (for years) the war machine and bankers want.

  6. I was a guest at a conference Nov 9-11th in Dallas Texas. It was a fund raiser for the defense fund of Lt.Gen Michael Flynn. I got to meet and talk with many veterans and spoke with POTUS 2020 re-election campaign manager Ltc. Tony Shaffer. He told me change was slow but moving in the right direction. He assured me the POTUS was committed to make the VA changes necessary.
    I went to one of these disability exams a couple years ago, contracted examiner, it went alright, on several issues, but my main issue was granted secondary connection, but at 0%.
    I’ve been battling the VA for more than a decade, with decades of medical evidence, that is either not considered, or even looked at. My NOD appeal is at 26 months, has been under review since July, with a hardship filed more than a year ago. With documented exposure and connection to mustard gas on several disabilities, and years of treatment at the VA and decades of treatment outside,,, its as clear as the light of day to me, delay, deny, hope we die, before they grant appeals, claims or proper ratings. The day I receive justice, you’ll will be the 1st to hear it.

  7. I am right in the middle of the same difficulty right now with a revaluation exam gone terribly wrong cause I challenge the doctors credibility. Now I’m trying to get the VA to assist me and getting evidence needed for a benefit hearing the end of November they do not want me to show up with any evidence at all they are preventing me from getting things done. When I asked about something Pres. Trump said my shrink says, Well you know trump lies about everything…

  8. Get your popcorn popping because this is the VA’s Whack-A-Mole (WHAM) program in-action with all the action-figure playing pieces of shit sliding all over the playing board, evading the clean wipe of Charmin but enjoying all it’s softness while remaining shitheads!!

    1. I’ve obtained free popcorn coupons to watch VA’s WHAM programming. Unforturnately, and like always, the popcorn is stale.

      The VA’s behavior of unaccountability, is what keeps many a Vets going in putting the spotlight on the VA.

      I’ve been working hard on my end to expose my local VA and the VA as a whole. Please keep an eye iut for a future post, which will explain a new mission that I’ve been working on. Thank you my fellow Warriors.

      And you that are all-out Pro-VA, and still in a mode of giving the VA more breaks in not complying with their own Policy’s, my future post isn’t intended for you. So flake the fuck off. I’m just cutting through the moldy and spoiled organic mustard.

      1. Ben, my future post will mist likely not relate to the article. So I’d hope that you won’t pull my pist off the comment board.

        It has taken me quite a while to put it together, and to overcome the corrupt power base that the VA projects to yhe Public as a form of intimadation. I’d appreciate your assist because it’ll be necessary.

  9. Thanks, Ben, I started the video at 38:30 minutes. There was not a sound at 35. I appreciate what you do for us.

  10. Like I mentioned before the VA administration will continue to re- shuffle their big wigs at get promoted to different assignment to save their hides, and even promote them to positions their surely don’t deserve or are qualified for, all this at taxpayer money and off the backs of Veterans, this needs to stop, the Trump administration needs to put halt to these people getting moved to other assignments and allowing them to retire after they screw up

    1. Unfortunately, there is nothing the trump administration can do, it is up to congress to change the way the VA Behaves! When there are about 13 senators out of 100 who support the veterans and 87 that do not, herein lays the problem with the VA! The VA plays on this and they know it is nothing no one person can do to fix it. The VA has not changed in over 100 years! What we can do as veterans is write to congress as a collected body of veterans voicing our dissatisfaction and vote those unsupporting senators out of office! Actually voting them out of office will not really help either. Some of them would probably like to be voted out of office because they still will get paid, only this time they will not have to work to receive their pay

      1. The main issue is VA management. They know whats going on. Rules for firing need to be changed, and Senators and Congressman need to be voted out of office, term limits need the order of the day.

        Plus, POTUS needs to shut up.about promises to Vets. He made so many promises in his SOTU Address. i know, bc I watched it and wrote them down as he spoke.

        So Trump, and I lean towards the right, needs to stop politicing the VA. And needs to stop making promises to Vets.

        But, knowing that if he does make promises and knoes that another Goobermint body is the one that can pass new laws to address such, then Trump needs to keep the fire under that Goobermint body so thatbhis pressure makes them to act in such.

        This isn’t as complex as ine may think. And after all, when its an issue that directly effects Trump, he’s a pumping out dose twit messages like foreplay headiing into the climax.

        I had to.put into.a sexual context to get the point across. Now I need to finish the post thatbI committed and promised to do earlier. No offense to anyone just tired of the incontenance and impotency.

        And no slack.cuz Imma speaking my right to express, and not scratching anyone’s back, bc the fools ruled taking CNN’s Acosta back into the WH. Just don’t give the buzzing knat the mic back. Lol

  11. This bit of news cannot possibly surprise any veteran who reads this and any other vet-centric blog, as well as newspaper articles, IG reports, et cetera.

    The VA has been avoiding accountability (on any veteran related subject) at Congressional Hearings for the last twenty-five years . . .

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