Chairman Takano Statement on Concerning VA OIG Reports Regarding Military Sexual Trauma
Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)
WASHINGTON, D.C —Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) made the following statement after VA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two concerning reports regarding Military Sexual Trauma (MST). The first report entitled, “Improvements Still Needed in Processing Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Claims” details issues within the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) and the second, “Challenges for Military Sexual Trauma Coordinators and Culture of Safety Considerations,” follows issues within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).
“Today’s OIG reports showcase major failures in VA’s claims processing for survivors of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and for veterans who use VA healthcare. While OIG has only recommended VA re-process the sample of claims it reviewed and found were prematurely denied, I call on VBA to readjudicate all denied MST claims. This the only way to know for sure that more claims are not inaccurately processed. VBA must promptly implement all four of OIG’s new recommendations to improve overall compliance with existing MST claims processing requirements. VHA must also take steps to ensure that veterans who have survived MST have access to necessary support, regardless of where they live or which VA medical facility they use. I urge VHA to move expeditiously to implement OIG’s recommendation to examine staffing requirements and resources for MST coordinators and ensure staff in those roles have adequate training, time for duties, and resources.
“To all survivors of MST: please know that you are heard. I’m confident that under Secretary McDonough’s leadership, we can right these wrongs.”
If you or a veteran you know are struggling, contact the Veteran Crisis Line 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 and select option 1, or text 838255.
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