After a look at facility-by-facility data, bizarre and anomalous numbers immediately jumped out, and it begged the question whether anyone had ever reviewed and questioned the information,” said Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., chairman of the oversight and investigations subcommittee of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
The General Services Administration collects information from all federal agencies about how much they spend on mail. The 2015 and 2016 data from the VA omitted spending totals from most of its 1,055 community-based clinics nationwide, as well as its 300 veterans centers and its National Cemetery Administration, the GAO found.
Some data was also inaccurate. Bergman brought up one instance of the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur, Ga., reporting it spent $11,257 to send one package. The VA said the true cost was $112.57, and the error was created when someone misplaced a decimal typing the information into the agency’s system.
Rep. Ann Kuster, D-N.H., the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, said the VA’s failure on a “simple and routine” task like recording mail spending information “is a sign of a larger problem.”
“VA has outdated systems requiring manual data entry, increasing the chance of human error. Employees lack training they need. Programs lack goals,” Kuster said. “I believe this is indicative of a larger problem. VA must examine the root causes.”
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