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Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

The Veterans Health Administration Needs to Do More to Promote Emotional Well-Being Supports Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Emergency Management issued the initial COVID-19 Response Plan on March 23, 2020, and then an updated version on August 7, 2020. The National Center for Organization Development created a COVID-19 rapid response consultation process for VHA leaders in a supervisory role. The Organizational Health Council developed a team that coordinated with multiple VHA program offices to create a COVID-19 Employee Support Toolkit and other resources. Additionally, several program offices independently created and disseminated employee well-being resources...
Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

Purchases of Smartphones and Tablets for Veterans’ Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated efforts by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to expand veteran access to telehealth. Accordingly, VHA’s Connected Care Office created a new digital divide consult to issue iPhones to veterans experiencing homelessness who were enrolled in the Department of Housing and Urban Development VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program. VHA was already loaning iPads to other veterans who lacked telehealth capable devices through the digital divide consult process. The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) initiated this review to evaluate whether purchases of...
Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

Comprehensive Healthcare Inspection of Facilities’ COVID-19 Pandemic Readiness and Response in Veterans Integrated Service Networks 2, 5, and 6

This Office of Inspector General (OIG) Comprehensive Healthcare Inspection Program (CHIP) report provides a focused evaluation of Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) 2, 5, and 6 facilities’ COVID-19 pandemic readiness and response. This evaluation focused on emergency preparedness; supplies, equipment, and infrastructure; staffing; access to care; community living center patient care and operations; facility staff feedback; and VA and VISNs 2, 5, and 6 vaccination efforts. The OIG has aggregated findings on COVID-19 preparedness and responsiveness from routine inspections to ensure...
Department of Housing and Urban Development OIG

Challenges Faced by Section 232 Nursing Homes During the Pandemic

We conducted a limited review of nursing home owners to identify their operational challenges and needs of nursing homes in responding to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Our objective was to determine the biggest challenges operators of Section 232 nursing home facilities face related to the COVID-19 pandemic and whether nursing homes are prepared to meet their future financial obligations. Most of the owners who responded to our survey indicated that nursing homes experienced financial and operational challenges during the pandemic. These challenges included staffing...
Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

VA’s Compliance with the VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021

In November 2021, Congress passed the VA Transparency & Trust Act of 2021 to oversee VA’s spending of emergency relief funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The law requires VA to report to Congress how it will spend the funding and provide biweekly updates thereafter. The law also requires the VA OIG to report within 120 days on whether VA is spending the funds according to its plan and must address waste, fraud, and abuse. This inaugural report focuses on whether the spend plans VA provided to Congress on December 22, 2021, satisfy the requirements of the Transparency Act. VA’s spend...
Department of Veterans Affairs OIG

Care in the Community Consult Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in West Virginia

The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a healthcare inspection at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center (facility) in West Virginia to assess allegations of failure to schedule a Care in the Community (CITC) COVID Priority 1 cardiology consult within Veterans Health Administration requirements, and delays in CITC consult scheduling caused by inadequate CITC staffing. The OIG substantiated that a COVID Priority 1 CITC cardiology consult was not scheduled within 30 days of the clinically indicated date. The OIG determined that the consult was amongst a backlog of approximately 5,000...
Department of Housing and Urban Development OIG

HUD Did Not Always Comply With Its Internal Guide When Transitioning Offices From Mandatory to Maximum Telework During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We audited the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) transitioning of offices from mandatory to maximum telework during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, based on a request from Representative Gerald Connolly, to review whether HUD was employing best practices and existing guidance when deciding whether or when to require Federal employees to return to their offices. Transitioning an office to maximum telework allowed HUD employees to voluntarily return to an office. We focused our audit on whether HUD complied with its internal Resuming Normal Operations...