VA Disability Exams: Better Planning Needed as Use of Contracted Examiners Continues to Grow, Statement of Elizabeth Curda, Director, Education, Workforce and Income Security, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, Committee on Veterans' Affairs, House of Representatives [open pdf - 453KB]
From the Highlights: "VBA [Veterans Benefits Administration] reported that the number of disability medical exams completed by contractors rose from about 180,000 to nearly 1.1 million from fiscal years 2012 through 2020. According to VBA officials, VA [Veterans Affairs] awarded new contracts in 2018 worth up to $6.8 billion over 10 years' duration to private sector disability medical exam providers. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to review VBA's planning and oversight related to contracted disability exams. This testimony examines (1) VBA's plans for allocating exam workloads in the future, and (2) how VBA assesses the quality of contractors' exams for selected complex claims. GAO reviewed VBA exams data and documents and interviewed officials from VBA, VHA [Veterans Health Administration], and exam contractors, as well as staff in three VHA medical centers and VBA regional offices, selected for a range of exam workloads and experience with complex exams. GAO assessed VBA efforts against sound planning practices and internal control standards. GAO is recommending that VBA (1) develop plans for its allocation of disability medical exam workloads that incorporate sound planning practices, and (2) assess the quality of exam reports completed by contractors for selected complex claims."
Government Accountability Office: https://www.gao.gov/