Claremore Daily Progress

State/Nation

April 17, 2013

Veterans Affairs audit reveals problems

OKLAHOMA CITY —

State Auditor Gary Jones released Wednesday the performance audit report of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.
The audit was requested by Governor Mary Fallin in August 2012, following the resignation of former ODVA Executive Director Martha Spears.
The request also came in the wake of the scalding death of a veteran at a Claremore residential care facility and numerous other allegations of patient abuse, neglect and poor quality of care.
“The ODVA exists to serve one of the most revered populations within our state,” said State Auditor Gary Jones. “The five-month review of ODVA identified a high quality of care in selected parts of ODVA’s operations, but many of its practices fall short of the standard of quality expected by its constituents and their families.”
The report identifies inconsistent training, pervasive substandard wages, and disregard by some administrator’s of staff input. These practices have contributed to a problematic work environment where human resources are improperly allocated and undervalued. 
“We found inconsistent policy implementation and insufficient independence in performing internal investigations of alleged misconduct,” Jones said. “The result of the ODVA’s fractured decentralized management structure had the opposite effect of its desired intent to promote accountability.  We believe these issues could have been effectively managed or avoided altogether with appropriate oversight by the War Veterans Commission. Unfortunately, the ODVA’s governing board did not appear fully aware of its own governance responsibilities or conscious of its own deficiencies.”
Looking forward, the report notes that the current Commission appears to have taken some action toward improving its quality of care for veterans, including the recent appointment of a full-time deputy director to oversee daily operations. 
“Our report offers multiple recommendations detailing how the Commission may overcome its institutional challenges to implement consistency and accountability,” Jones said. “These recommendations are intended as a starting point to reform current practices and shift the agency’s current culture of apathy and disengagement. It won’t happen overnight, but it is possible for ODVA to change its current environment and achieve its mission of providing excellent health services to our veterans today and in the years to come. When it comes to the care of our veterans, doing anything less is not justifiable.”
The full performance audit report of ODVA is available online at www.sai.ok.gov.
 

1
Text Only
State/Nation
  • Gas prices continue falling in Oklahoma

    AAA Oklahoma says gas prices continue to drop in the state as demand nationwide drops below 9 million barrels per day.

    July 29, 2014

  • Perry: Texas plans to send 1,000 guardsmen to border

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to South Texas to bolster security along the Mexico border, a local lawmaker confirmed Monday.

    July 21, 2014

  • NASA renames building for Neil Armstrong

    NASA has honored one of its most famous astronauts by renaming a key building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    July 21, 2014

  • New arrivals worry some in the Oklahoma panhandle

    A family who says they were excommunicated from Warren Jeffs' polygamous sect has moved to a small city located in the Oklahoma Panhandle, raising concerns among some residents.

    July 20, 2014

  • Celebrate 45 years since man's first steps on the moon

    Now's the time to get moonstruck.

    Forty-five years ago Sunday, Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on another world. Armstrong's "one small step ... one giant leap" on the dusty lunar surface July 20, 1969, still stirs hearts.

    July 20, 2014

  • US outlines case against Russia on downed plane

    Video of a rocket launcher, one surface-to-air missile missing, leaving the likely launch site. Imagery showing the firing. Calls claiming credit for the strike. Recordings said to reveal a cover-up at the crash site.

    July 20, 2014

  • Oklahoma Capitol renovation project previewed

    State officials have previewed preliminary plans for renovating the century-old Oklahoma State Capitol amid a display of artifacts from groundbreaking ceremonies for the structure.

    July 17, 2014

  • House passes tax breaks to boost charitable giving

    The House passed a package of tax breaks Thursday designed to boost charitable donations by seniors, private foundations and procrastinators.

    One provision provides tax breaks to people over 70 who make donations from their individual retirement accounts. Another reduces excise taxes on private charitable foundations.

    July 17, 2014

  • Should online accounts die when you die?

    Should your emails, web albums and other online accounts die when you do? Or should you be able to pass them down to a family member much as you would a house or a box of letters?

    July 17, 2014

  • Obama, Putin discuss Malaysia Plane incident

    The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama have discussed the Malaysia Airlines plane incident over eastern Ukraine.

    July 17, 2014