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VA’s Waco Claim Office: A Deteriorating Disaster

Newspaper criticizes Texas office for errors and wait times.  

Despite enhanced training and $1.5 million in new funding, the embattled Waco, Texas regional office of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is, sadly, getting worse.  This information is a result of a second audit issued July 30, 2013, by VA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

According to an Austin American-Statesman newspaper article OIG investigators found that 40 percent of the claims they reviewed were incorrectly processed by VA workers.  A 2010 OIG audit reported a 36 percent error rate.

Even more troubling, VA’s OIG found an increase in errors in processing Veterans’ claims for traumatic brain injury (TBI), a condition among veterans with head injuries and more frequently found among Iraq and Afghanistan war Veterans to do roadside bomb blasts.

Statesman reporter Jeremy Schwartz notes that the average wait time for Central Texas Veterans last year was 393 days.  The situation got worse: the wait time now is 464 days.

Paul Sullivan, veterans outreach director for Bergmann & Moore, was quoted by the Statesman saying that VA needs to dig deeper to find out why accuracy problems persist despite the enhanced training.

Three days later, Glenn R. Bergman, a partner at Bergmann & Moore, pointed out to the Statesman’s editorial board that there are currently 785,899 Veterans nationwide with pending claims who are waiting too long for a VBA decision. 

In a strongly worded editorial mentioning Glenn Bergmann, the Statesman called out the Waco office saying, “Until a commitment to serve veterans and their problems is made from the commander-in-chief on down, ex-GIs can expect nothing better than what they’ve been getting. What they’ve been getting reflects poorly on us all.”

At Bergmann & Moore we remain concerned about VA’s chronic delays and errors, especially for our veterans with mental health conditions such as TBI and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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