Begich Concerned Over Results of VA Regional Office Inspection
Sen. Mark Begich today expressed concern about the handling of veteran’s claims at the Anchorage Veterans Administration regional office and urged the Veterans Administration (VA) to accelerate a new claims processing pilot program.
“The VA has a huge challenge now and in the future to take care of America’s veterans quickly and responsibly,” Begich said. “As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, I have fought for additional funding and administrative changes to ensure our veterans get the care and support they earned. This report highlights the need to do more, starting right here in Alaska.”
Begich’s comments are in response to a VA inspection report released today showing the VA did not accurately process 18 of 38 claims that were evaluated. The inspection also found the office did not ensure the staff was addressing Gulf War veterans’ entitlement to mental health treatment in its processes.
Begich noted that these inspection results are not unique to Alaska and stressed the need to streamline and improve the claims process as the number of veterans seeking assistance skyrockets with new Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
“I will do everything I can to support the Alaska VA in these challenging times,” Begich said. “I applaud the Alaska VA for already taking steps to address the problems and will push the agency to use the new pilot program to identify new steps.”
Alaska is one of 23 sites nationwide for a new pilot program focused on accelerating claims processing. The pilot program changes the way medical evidence is collected and implements quality review teams, claims triage and improved paperless communication to result in more timely and accurate processing.