Bera urges swift resolution for local Vets impacted by mismanagement at Oakland VA
Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. today urged officials at the Oakland Veterans Affairs Center to reach out to individual veterans who may have been impacted by the mismanagement of records detailed in a report released last week to ensure that they receive the benefits they have earned. The Oakland VA serves Veterans in Northern California who are receiving and applying for benefits, including any of the 95,000 in the 7th Congressional District of California which Bera represents.
“As a doctor who has helped care for Veterans in the VA system, I have seen first-hand how much our heroes have sacrificed for us,” said Bera. “I’m extremely troubled by the mismanagement of records at the Oakland VA and we absolutely must do better. My office is ready to work with the VA to assist our region’s Veterans. We must work to ensure that these mistakes do not happen again and that transparency and honesty remain core values at the VA. Our heroes deserve nothing less than our unwavering support.”
If you are a Veteran in Sacramento County who may have been affected by the records mismanagement, or if you need help getting your benefits, Bera’s office may be able to help. Visit http://bera.house.gov/helpforvets for more info or call (916) 635-0505.
Read the text Bera’s letter below:
February 24, 2015
Julianna M. Boor
Oakland VA Regional Office
1301 Clay Street, North Tower
Oakland, CA 94612
Dear Director Boor,
I am deeply concerns about the recent report from the Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that validates allegations the Oakland VA Regional Office mismanaged more than 13,000 informal benefit claims.
The report confirmed that the Oakland Regional Office improperly stored and delayed the processing of these benefit claims, some of which date back to the year 2002. Despite the creation of a special project team to address the problem in the fall of 2012, the report found that the team failed to complete the review of the unprocessed claims. In addition, the Inspector General was unable to confirm the initial list of 13,184 informal benefit claims or the number of claims that the Oakland Regional Office listed as needing additional action due to poor record keeping.
In light of the report’s findings, I request that your office make every effort to contact all individuals on these benefit claims and all who may have been impacted by this mismanagement of records to ensure that these Veterans receive the benefits they have earned. The Oakland VA is here to serve all of Northern California, including the nearly 95,0000 Veterans that live in the 7th Congressional District of California which I represent, and many of them could have been affected. As a doctor who has helped care for Veterans in the VA system, I have seen first-hand how much our heroes have sacrificed for us, and we absolutely must do better. Our heroes deserve nothing less than our unwavering support.
My office and I are ready to work with you to help assist our region’s Veterans who have heroically served us. While the Regional Office has completed recommendations made by the Inspector General to improve processing of these benefits, we must continue to work to ensure that these mistakes do not happen again and that transparency and honesty remain core values at the VA. I ask that you keep my office informed about the progress of this outreach and provide an update within a month. Thank you for your prompt attention to this request.
Ami Bera, M.D.
Member of Congress