Troubled by delays in handling of veterans claims, a bipartisan group of senators is seeking a wide-scale independent review of the Department of Veterans Affairs for mismanagement and changes to improve budgeting and speed up applications.
A report being released Wednesday by nine senators acknowledged recent efforts by the VA to reduce disability and pensions claims backlogs but said it wasn’t enough. Pointing to the VA’s worst performers such as the Philadelphia regional office, they were announcing legislation that would require the Government Accountability Office to investigate all 56 regional offices for problems.
It was the latest sign of congressional concern that recent findings of mismanagement at the Philadelphia VA — including neglected mail, manipulation of dates to make old claims look new, and alteration of quality reviews — might point to a broader, department-wide problem.
“The VA system again finds itself engulfed in another scandal,” said Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., co-chair of the Senate’s VA backlog working group. VA offices nationwide are suffering from poor management, he said, proving “it is time for an overhaul of the entire system.”