A paperwork problem

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From Time Magazine:
Guess the VA Does Have a Paperwork Problem�
Veterans routinely complain about how much paperwork they have to generate to apply for VA benefits. They may have a point: the Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general reported Thursday that paper had piled so high at the VA�s regional office in Winston-Salem, N.C., that it �appeared to have the potential to compromise the integrity of the building.�

Noted the IG:
The volume of folders and inadequate storage seems to indicate the VARO [VA Regional Office] has exceeded the capacity to store files. This over-storage creates an unsafe environment for the employees, overexposes many claims folders to risk of fire/water damage, inadvertent loss and possible misplacement, as well as impedes VARO productivity by reducing access to many folders in a timely manner. We observed files stored approximately two feet high and two rows deep on top of file cabinets. File cabinets were placed so closely together that file drawers could not be opened completely. We estimated that approximately 37,000 claims folders were stored on top of file cabinets. We also observed files stored on the floor and stacked, as space permitted, in boxes along walls. The attached photos provide illustrations of the excessive and unsafe file storage at this VARO.

The excess weight of the stored files has the potential to compromise the structural integrity of the sixth floor of the facility. We noticed floors bowing under the excess weight to the extent that the tops of file cabinets were noticeably unlevel throughout the storage area. We asked the responsible Property Manager within the General Services Administration (GSA) for a copy of the most recent inspection report and load bearing study of the building. The Property Manager could not locate any evidence of a load bearing study, but thought that such a study was conducted approximately 10 years ago. He said that he would coordinate with GSA�s Civil Engineering office to determine whether a new study might be conducted. Additionally, the Property Manager provided us with a copy of a GSA fire inspection report, dated May 8, 2012. In the report, the Regional Fire Protection Engineer expressed concerns about �floor stack loading� on the sixth floor of the building, stating that it constituted �an extreme fire load and a possible structural overloading concern.�
There is no mention of this in the report (14 page PDF) but I bet that they have probably burned through several billion dollars given to them to "computerize" all of this. Typical government eficiency. They do have a nationwide app called VistA and by all reports, it is quite good. Still, why all the paperwork...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on August 11, 2012 12:40 PM.

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