Thursday, January 7, 2016

St. Petersburg VA 41,900 mail packages with unprocessed veterans' claims

You've heard the expression "the more things change, the more they stay the same" and this is yet one more of those times. This was reported about Tampa VA Hospital back in 2008
VA hopes new shredding guidelines protect claims seekers
By William R. Levesque, Times staff writer
In print: Saturday, November 1, 2008
And before shredding any document, two VA employees, including a supervisor, would have to sign off, according to a draft of the policy obtained by the St. Petersburg Times on Friday. The policy comes after the discovery last month of nearly 500 veterans' claims documents improperly set aside for shredding in 41 VA benefits offices.
Report: Veterans' claims backlogged by the thousands at St. Petersburg VA office
Tampa Bay Times
Kathleen McGrory
Times Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 6, 2016

More than 41,900 mail packages with unprocessed veterans' claims materials piled up at the Veterans Affairs office in St. Petersburg last year, according to a new report by the department's inspector general.

The inspector general also found that 1,600 boxes of claims materials from the St. Petersburg office swamped a scanning facility in Georgia — and raised doubts about whether the information had been securely stored.

"We observed a large amount of hard copy sensitive veteran information haphazardly commingled with contract company documentation, excess office furniture, and empty computer boxes that appeared to be trash," investigators wrote in the report.

The findings come amid national and regional concerns about a backlog of veterans' claims. Last year, a report from the U.S. Senate listed the St. Petersburg regional office as the 10th worst performing in the nation in terms of wait time.

"We're obviously not happy with what goes on in the regional office," said Michael Bousher, president of the Pinellas chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America. "They can do a much better job."
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