DES MOINES – With Washington liberal Bruce Braley skipping an important Veterans’ Affairs hearing onSeptember 20, 2012, the Republican Party of Iowa is sharing the questions his colleagues asked that day regarding the growing number of backlogged claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“After skipping 78 percent of his Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearings, nobody knows better than Bruce Braley that it’s pretty hard to hold the VA accountable if you’re constantly skipping the hearings,” said Iowa Republican Party spokesman Jahan Wilcox. “Braley’s decision to blow off an opportunity to ask the VA important oversight questions, explains everything you need to know about him.”
Throughout The Hearing That Bruce Braley Missed On Septmber 20, 2012 His Colleagues Asked Questions About Resolving The Backlog, Access To Care And Quality Of Care
During The Hearing, Committee Members Expressed Concern That The Backlog Was Creating Improper Care For Veterans. CONGRESSMAN MICHAUD: “A good example is back in June when we were discussing the claims backlog within VBA, the concern in the inspector general’s report was that VA employees were rushing through the process to get a claim done, therefore the accuracy rate has not been anywhere near where it should be. So taking that consideration with the employees feeling they have to rush through, my question to General Hickey at the time was, is there any benefit for an employee as far as how do you rate the employee as far as doing a good job or a bad job and how do you determine that.” (Reviewing VA’s Performance and Accountability, Veterans Affairs Committee, US House Of Representatives, 9/20/12)
Deputy Secretary Gould Highlighted The Importance Of The House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee On Oversight In Resolving Issues In The VA. CONGRESSMAN GOULD: “And, Mr. Michaud, first of all, as Congressman Brown said, you know, one team, one mission here. Our number one job is to take care of our veterans. One of the roles that this Oversight Committee plays is in bringing issues of poor performance to our attention and getting it done. I put your request in that category, informed by the notion that how you manage and rate your people and measure their performance is a critical part of improving our ability to process claims.” (Reviewing VA’s Performance and Accountability, Veterans Affairs Committee, US House Of Representatives, 9/20/12)
During The Hearing, Gould Was Unable To Answer A Question Asking How Veterns In The Backlog Would Know When They Can Expect To Receive Care. CONGRESSMAN ROE: “No, I have not. I just want to know if I am a veteran and I have got a claim out there in claims land, wherever it may be, and I do not know where it is and when it is ever going to–and I have not heard from anybody in six months, when can I type in my information and find out why it is taking so long because we were told that was going to occur?” GOULD: “And correctly. It is in the eBenefits functional suite. Today there are 46 different things that you can do on the eBenefits Web site. And today I am happy to announce 1.9 million people have visited that site. So it is a web-based tool to be able to get information from VA including the status of claims.” ROE: “The question I am asking is, that is all good and fine and dandy, but the question I am asking is, am I going to hear something in 30 days because I have got a house payment to make or am I going to hear something in six months? When am I going to get some resolution for me?” GOULD: “Well, I will answer that on a couple of levels. I mentioned earlier that we have processed now at the end of this year almost four million claims. So there are four million people that have that answer. If your answer is prospectively when can I use the web to get that information in the future, that is part of our roll- out.” ROE: “That is the question I am asking. My questions have not been answered yet. My question is, when a veteran in my district or any of these districts that we represent goes on-line with this backlog, where am I in this process? Am I going to hear something in two months or three months or when am I going to hear something?” GOULD: “So a couple ways you can get that information. Call your VSO and they will enter the system or call a service provider. Mr. Roe. But what we were told was the veteran would be able to electronically go to their iPad or their computer and– –“ GOULD: “Yes.” ROE: “–be able to find out the status of their claim.” GOULD: “Yes.” ROE: “I mean, I know it is a tough situation. But is there in the foreseeable future, is that going to happen?” GOULD: “Yes. As I mentioned a moment ago, it is part of our transformation plan, the technology component, and the very system is already deployed called eBenefits. That will be the place that your member can go to find the status of their claim.” (Reviewing VA’s Performance and Accountability, Veterans Affairs Committee, US House Of Representatives, 9/20/12)