Shenanigans at the VA

~ By Freddy Groves ~

You have to wonder what some people are thinking when they try to put one over on the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Item: In Boston, a veterans service officer date stamped a stack of blank documents, which then allowed him to backdate claims he was processing. He managed to get all those forms backdated because the date-stamping machines weren’t locked, as they’re required to be.

Item: In Colorado, an employee high up the food chain circumvented hiring practices by creating a position especially for a former co-worker with whom she had a personal relationship … using that person’s resume as the description for the new position. When asked to submit to an interview, the employee said no, under advice of counsel, and instead retired.

Item: A supervisor removed electronic controls that are used to process claims and told staff to “disregard Veterans Benefits Administration policy when processing some claims.” Out of 139 files checked, 100 had the controls removed. As a result, “some veterans may have continued to receive additional compensation for dependents that they were not entitled to receive.”

Item (and it’s a biggie): Seven years after the 2006 data breach, VA information security employees and contract workers still reacted with “indifference, little sense of urgency, or responsibility concerning a possible cyber threat incident” and allowed employees to work remotely and access the VA network on their personally owned equipment … from China and India! Further, when ordered to stop, the employees failed to try to determine if any of the VA data had been compromised.

And this, I fear, is only the tip of the iceberg.

© 2015 King Features Synd., Inc.


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