Former Harlingen VA Worker Says Staffing Problems Could Lead to Fraud Risks

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HARLINGEN – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Treasury to fight waste in the VA.

The program's goal is to identify areas of VA services susceptible to fraud or waste and abuse. The VA says it is also using what it has learned from this program to help other federal agencies.

A veteran says he had a bad experience working at the Harlingen Veterans Affairs. He applauds the new VA and Treasury Department program.

The former VA supervisor for administrative services asked his identity not be revealed. He worked in the Harlingen VA office from 2013 until 2015, after a couple of decades in the U.S. Army.

The man says he had good intentions when he took the job.

"I felt working with veterans would be the best way for me to continue serving my country," the former VA worker says.

He says he became so disillusioned with the VA after two years that he left his job to work in security. He says every day he had frustrations.

"Lack of consistency, high turnover rate of employees, asking for information and it was – they kind of like put it on the back-burner and then all of the sudden it falls off the radar, and you never get the real answer," he says.

The man says he supports current federal government efforts to identify areas in VA service where fraud risk can occur.  He says fraud risks within the VA Harlingen are too hard to address because too few people are on staff.

"They have a lot of work and the good employees. There (are) excellent employees that still work and providers.  Some of them, they come in and they have a high workload and they see what's going on and nothing's changing so they leave," he notes.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to the VA headquarters in Washington, D.C. to learn more about how its program along with Department of Treasury will identify waste, fraud and abuse in the Harlingen VA.

A spokesperson for the VA says their agency is working to identify these problems across the nation. They add the VA also has a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services to share data, data analytics tools and best practices for identifying and protecting from waste, fraud and abuse.

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