Following a recent testimony from an American Legion official that revealed major failings at the Veterans Affairs Baltimore office, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., has delivered an ultimatum to the VA.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Mikulski, who oversees federal government funds as the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, sent a letter to the Baltimore VA branch Monday expressing her disappointment in its handling of the disability claims backlog. The embattled veterans office recently came under fire after a congressional testimony from Verna Jones, a director at the American Legion, alleged that the Baltimore office was tossing out more veterans the claims they processed, the news source reported last week.
Jones also said that the office was ignoring the newly implemented fast-track program, which would speed up the claims process in order to clear out the ongoing disability backlog.
"We cannot continue to allow the Baltimore office to perform at a level that puts our commitment to veterans in jeopardy," Mikulski wrote.
The Senator is giving the Baltimore office 10 days to develop an improvement plan, and called for special leadership and processing training to be led by the Indianapolis VA office, which is one of the most successful branches in the country.
Not only is the Baltimore VA office the slowest in the nation at processing claims, but also has the highest rate of error, according to VA data.