Statement of The Office of Inspector General Department of Veterans Affairs Before The Committee On Veterans’ Affairs United States House Of Representatives Hearing On “Examining Access And Quality Of Care And Services For Women Veterans” April 30, 201504/29/2015 08:00 PM EDT

May 13th, 2015
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04/29/2015 08:00 PM EDT


Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to provide information on the work of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding the access to and quality of care and services for women veterans from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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Brookings Names VA OIG as Second Most Productive OIG in Government Based on Last 5 Years’ Return on Investment05/04/2015 08:00 PM EDT

May 9th, 2015
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05/04/2015 08:00 PM EDT


In a paper issued April 30, 2015, the Center for Effective Public Management at Brookings issued a paper assessing the benefits Office of Inspector General bring to government. The paper focuses on Return on Investment (ROI)—the most quantifiable metric of agency performance. The Social Security OIG was first with an ROI of $43.60 to $1, the VA OIG was second with $38 to $1, and HUD OIG was third with $29.59 to $1.

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May is Mental Health Awareness MonthFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         May 7, 2015New VA Website Encourages Veterans to Tell Their Stories of HopeWASHINGTON – May is Mental Health Awareness Month. To commemorate the month, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is encouraging Veterans, along with their families and friends, to visit and chronicle their recovery journey on the website, MakeTheConnection.net. Make the Connection is a national awareness program operated by VA aimed at reducing the negative perceptions and stigma associated with seeking mental health care. Through the Website, Veterans and their loved ones hear from hundreds of other Veterans who may be experiencing similar challenges, learn strategies for support and recovery, along with local resources available through a resource locator.  Since the launch of the Make the Connection campaign in November 2011, there have been more than 7 million visits to the website, and more than 2.8 million people have joined the Facebook community or subscribed to the YouTube channel. The resource locator on the site, with information on VA and community-based treatment services around the country, has been used more than 220,000 times. “We all have the ability to influence a friend or loved one in a positive way – that’s why Make the Connection was created,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “We want Veterans to tell their personal stories of mental health treatment and recovery to as many of their peers as possible. Those stories can be great sources of strength for Veterans in need of hope.” In addition to the Make the Connection website and Facebook page, information also can be found on YouTube at www.youtube.com/VeteransMTC and Google+ at http://plus.google.com/+VeteransMTC. Information about all VA mental health efforts may be found at www.mentalhealth.va.gov.### Keep updated & let us know how we’re doing.          You have received this message because you are subscribed to Veterans Affairs. Access your Subscriber Preferences to make changes to your subscription or Unsubscribe. Get this as a forward? Sign Up to receive updates from Veterans Affairs. Having questions or problems? Please visit subscriberhelp.govdelivery.com for assistance.If you are in crisis and need immediate help, please call 1-800-273-8255 and (PRESS 1) or visit http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/.Please remember the only secure way to ask personal questions is at https://iris.custhelp.com.Explore VA benefits at explore.va.gov  Sent to denis@labine.com on behalf of US Department of Veterans Affairs810 Vermont Avenue, NW · Washington, DC 20420

May 8th, 2015

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

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Review of Community Based Outpatient Clinics and Other Outpatient Clinics of VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, Omaha, Nebraska05/05/2015 08:00 PM EDT

May 6th, 2015
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05/05/2015 08:00 PM EDT


The VA Office of Inspector General conducted a review of the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System’s Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) and other outpatient clinics to evaluate for safe, consistent, and high-quality health care. The review evaluated the clinics’ compliance with selected VHA requirements for alcohol use disorder care, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening, and outpatient documentation. We also randomly selected the O’Neill VA Clinic, O’Neill, NE, as a representative site and evaluated the environment of care on March 11, 2015. OIG noted opportunities for improvement and made five recommendations in the following focused review areas: Alcohol Use Disorder Care, HIV Screening, and Environment of Care.

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Film the police by Southern California ACLU

May 6th, 2015

Dear Aclu Supporter,

Every 28 hours, a black man, woman or child is killed by law enforcement. These tragic stories are not new, however due to the power of new technology we can no longer deny their existence.

Last week, the ACLU of California launched Mobile Justice CA, a free smart phone app, available in English and Spanish, allowing people to automatically submit cell phone videos to the ACLU when they witness law enforcement officers violating civil rights.

Download Mobile Justice CA on your Android or IOS.

  • Record exchanges with police, sheriff, border patrol or other officers in audio and video files that are automatically transferred to the nearest ACLU office
  • Witness function sends out an alert to anyone with the app to give them the option of going to the location to document the incident
  • The Rights section provides an overview of our basic rights when stopped by law enforcement officers as well as access to the ACLU’s full library of Know Your Rights

Hold California law enforcement officers accountable for their actions. Get the free app.

Join thousands of Californians—including a growing number of celebrities—who use their smartphones to Stand For Justice.

Sincerely,

headshot

Hector O. Villagra
Executive Director
ACLU of Southern California

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Review of Community Based Outpatient Clinics and Other Outpatient Clinics of VA Roseburg Healthcare System, Roseburg, Oregon05/04/2015 08:00 PM EDT

May 5th, 2015
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05/04/2015 08:00 PM EDT


The VA Office of Inspector General conducted a review of the VA Roseburg Healthcare System’s Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) and other outpatient clinics to evaluate for safe, consistent, and high-quality health care. The review evaluated the clinics’ compliance with selected VHA requirements for alcohol use disorder care, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening, and outpatient documentation. We also randomly selected the Brookings, OR, CBOC as a representative site and evaluated the environment of care on March 17, 2015. OIG noted opportunities for improvement and made eight recommendations in the following focused review areas: Alcohol Use Disorder Care, HIV Screening, and Environment of Care.

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Review of Community Based Outpatient Clinics and Other Outpatient Clinics of VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California05/04/2015 08:00 PM EDT

May 5th, 2015
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05/04/2015 08:00 PM EDT


The VA Office of Inspector General conducted a review of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System’s Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) and other outpatient clinics to evaluate for safe, consistent, and high-quality health care. The review evaluated the clinics’ compliance with selected VHA requirements for alcohol use disorder care, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening, and outpatient documentation. We also randomly selected the Fremont, CA, CBOC as a representative site and evaluated the environment of care on February 24, 2015. OIG noted opportunities for improvement and made seven recommendations in the following focused review areas: Alcohol Use Disorder Care, HIV Screening, and Environment of Care.

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Healthcare Inspection – Alleged Violation of Patient Rights, Sheridan VA Health Care System, Sheridan, Wyoming04/30/2015 08:00 PM EDT

May 1st, 2015
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04/30/2015 08:00 PM EDT


At the request of Senator Bill Nelson, the OIG conducted a review of allegations at the Sheridan VA Health Care System, Sheridan, Wyoming. We administratively closed this review on March 25, 2015, because the OIG has no authority to review or comment on state laws. On April 24, 2015, we provided Senator Nelson a copy of this administrative closure. OIG has distributed copies of this review to VA and Veterans Health Administration officials, congressional committees, national veterans service organizations, the Government Accountability Office, and the Office of Management and Budget.

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VA Research Commemorates 90 Years of Health Care Innovation Focused on Improving Veterans’ Lives04/30/2015 02:48 PM EDT

April 30th, 2015
 

 

 
 

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VA Research Commemorates 90 Years of Health Care Innovation Focused on Improving Veterans’ Lives

 WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs will highlight 90 years of improving the lives of Veterans and other Americans through medical and prosthetics research when it celebrates National VA Research Week May 18–22, 2015, at host medical facilities across the United States and its territories.

 “VA Research and Development plays a pivotal role in improving the health of Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “In addition, the advances in health care developed by VA have benefited millions of other Americans and patients worldwide.”

 As part of the nation’s largest integrated health care system, VA research has unique opportunities to address some of the most critical issues in health care today. During fiscal year 2015, nearly 3,400 VA researchers will work on more than 2,200 projects. In addition to VA funding, VA researchers compete for funding from the National Institutes of Health, nonprofit associations and private pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms.

VA medical centers across the nation will mark VA Research Week with special events such as tours of their research facilities, lectures, poster displays and luncheons to honor the Veterans who voluntarily participate in VA studies.  The week-long activities will highlight current research, much of it focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, and using new technology in fields such as brain imaging, DNA sequencing and cell therapy. Another highlight of Research Week will center on VA’s Million Veteran Program, which aims to create one of the world’s largest databases of health and genetic information. To date, the program has enrolled some 350,000 Veterans.

Also in the spotlight will be past accomplishments, such as the work of Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Andrew Schally, who received the award in 1977 for discoveries relating to hormones. Today, nearly four decades later, Dr. Schally is still an active VA researcher, studying cancer, diabetes and heart disease at the Miami VA Medical Center.

“From the development of effective therapies for tuberculosis and implantable cardiac pacemakers, to the first successful liver transplant and the nicotine patch, VA’s trail-blazing research accomplishments are a source of great pride to VA and the nation,” said Dr. Timothy O’Leary, VA’s chief research and development officer. “The impact of VA research on Veterans’ lives stretches back to the 1920s, when researchers reported on studies looking at treatments for malaria, the long-term health effects of chemical warfare and mortality among Veterans with mental illness.” 

To learn more about the work of VA researchers, past and present, visit www.research.va.gov. For more information on local and national events marking National VA Research Week, visit www.research.va.gov/researchweek

 

 

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Review of Alleged Mismanagement of Radiologists Interpretations at Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System04/29/2015 08:00 PM EDT

April 30th, 2015
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04/29/2015 08:00 PM EDT


OIG reviewed the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS) Teleradiology Reading Center (TRC) to determine the merits of an allegation that radiologists stopped reading exams for CAVHS patients when they had reached their minimum Relative Value Unit (RVU) level and then performed fee-basis interpretations for other VA facilities during their tours of duty under a TRC agreement. We did not substantiate the allegation that CAVHS radiologists inappropriately performed fee-basis interpretations for other Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 16 medical facilities during their scheduled duty hours. Our review of 7,657 interpretations between January 1, 2014, and June 30, 2014, determined that CAVHS radiologists conducted their TRC interpretations during non-duty hours. We did not find that radiologists stopped performing radiology interpretations for CAVHS patients when they had reached their minimum production level. However, we found VISN 16 could improve their controls to add more reliability to their determinations that radiologists performed TRC interpretations during non-duty hours. Of 7,657 interpretations, we identified 384 interpretations that appeared radiologists started or accessed during duty hours. We used data not accessed by VISN staff and identified the actual time radiologists dictated their interpretation. We determined radiologists made all 384 interpretations during non-duty hours. We also found that CAVHS radiologists’ timecards did not accurately show their official weekend tour of duty and VISN 16 had not reviewed the TRC agreement in the past 5 years. We recommended the Interim VISN 16 Director review the time interpretations started and ended to ensure radiologists perform TRC interpretations during their non-duty hours, establish policy on an official tour of duty for weekend duty, and require annual certification of the TRC agreement.

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