DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Molly A. Burgess, U.S. Navy

Looking at VA disability claims reviews

Ian de Planque, American Legion assistant director for Claims Service, testified March 24 before the House Disability and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee on "Examination of VA Regional Office Disability Claims Quality Review Methods."

The American Legion's testimony centered around VA's Systematic Technical Accuracy Review (STAR) process and ways to improve it. In specific, The American Legion recommends compiling an aggregate record of common errors found through STAR, as well as through the Appeals Management Center, Board of Veterans' Appeals and the Court of Appeals for veterans' Claims to determine trends and deficiencies within VA; utilizing the aggregate record to tailor a targeted training program to correct the common errors and deficiencies; and establishing outside oversight by an impartial third party to ensure compliance with the corrective measures.

"Under the provisions of Public Law 110-389, the Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2008, the VA secretary is to contract with an independent entity to conduct, over a three-year period, an assessment of the VA quality assurance program. In addition, the VA secretary is to report the entity's findings and conclusions to Congressde Planque wrote in his submitted testimony. The American Legion looks forward to this report, but would encourage VA to aggressively strive for marked improvements in accuracy before, during and after this mandated assessment. The American Legion is confident that VA is capable of internal improvement. There is sufficient information now to begin making STAR work the way it should for VA employees and veterans.