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M28_ Part 7_ Chapter 3 - Veterans Benefits Administration

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					March 15, 2006                                                            M28, Part VII, Chapter 3



1. Overview of the Site Visit Program


Introduction     This topic contains information on the site visit program, including

                  background, and
                  purpose of the site visit


Change Date      March 15, 2006


a. Background    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the authority and responsibility
                 to provide all services and assistance necessary to enable veterans with
                 service-connected disabilities to achieve maximum independence in daily
                 living, and, to the maximum extent feasible, to become employable and to
                 obtain and maintain suitable employment.

                 The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Service has been
                 granted this authority and responsibility.


b. Purpose of    The VR&E Site Visit is an oversight function conducted in each regional
the Site Visit   office (RO) to ensure provision of services to veterans and their dependents is
                 consistent with laws which are set forth in regulations, manuals, circulars,
                 program policies, and other directives.

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1. Overview of the Site Visit Program, Continued


b. Purpose of      For this purpose, VR&E Service conducts site visits to
the Site Visit
(continued)         evaluate each VR&E field station’s program management and operational
                     processes for
                      accuracy
                      consistency in service delivery
                      program integrity, and
                      vulnerabilities to waste, fraud, and abuse of benefits
                    identify
                      best practices
                      strengths, and
                      areas for improvement
                    ensure implementation of systematic analyses of operations, and
                    evaluate other concerns or issues of special interest.

                   The site visit focuses on

                      assurance of appropriate rehabilitation outcomes and accuracy
                      enhancement of program integrity
                      improvement of quality in service delivery, and
                      consistency of field practices.




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2. Site Visit Process


Introduction      This topic contains information on the site visit process, including

                     objectives
                     preparatory work by Site Visit team
                     case selection
                     purpose of case reviews
                     site visit schedule, and
                     Site Visit Team.


Change Date       March 15, 2006


a. Objectives     The VR&E site visit serves to accomplish the following

                   identify good management practices and effective local procedures that are
                    appropriate for consideration for nationwide adoption, mandatory or
                    otherwise
                   identify program deficit trends
                   provide
                     clarifications
                     recommendations, and
                     assistance to regional offices (ROs) in improving and/or correcting
                      identified deficiencies
                   develop a self-assessment tool for each office using the survey model
                   ensure consistency in RO’s processes and practices, and
                   foster effective relationships among the ROs.


b. Preparatory    Prior to the site visit, data is collected and analyzed to determine
Work by the       potential areas of concern and particular interest. This approach allows the
Site Visit Team   Site Visit Team to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the program
                  management and service delivery of the office.


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2. Site Visit Process, Continued


b. Preparatory     The following available and most recent data elements are reviewed prior to
Work by the        the site visit, including review of
Site Visit Team
(continued)         scores for the performance measures and management data for out of line
                     situations
                    national and local QA review results
                    COIN TAR 6013 report from prior months.
                    COIN TAR 6001 through 6012 reports from prior months
                    Corporate Case Management Information System (CWINRS) data,
                     including contracting information, voucher processing, Financial
                     Management System data and case management information
                    the Combined Assessment Program (CAP) conducted by the Office of
                     Inspector General (OIG), and
                    the Financial Management Review conducted by the Financial Management
                     Assurance Service (FMAS).

                   Data from the last 12 months are reviewed from the following reports

                      quarterly management briefings
                      systematic analysis of operations (SAO) reports
                      quarterly statistical reports (QSR)
                      resource allocation model
                      monthly operations reports
                      VR&E Intranet reports, and
                      QA website reports.


c. Case            Cases are selected for review during the site visit. Case selection is based on
Selection          data analysis results and targets cases with potentially out of line situations.


d. Purpose of      Case reviews are conducted to
Case Reviews
                    closely examine specific areas that are not included in the QA reviews
                    verify that process and procedures are within specific regulatory guidelines,
                     and
                    further validate findings from the QA results.

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2. Site Visit Process, Continued


e. Site Visit    Approximately 12 ROs are scheduled for site visits each fiscal year. A
Schedule         selection process using specific criteria has been established to identify
                 offices with best practices or problematic issues. The schedule is posted on
                 the VR&E Intranet website each year.


f. Site Visit    Members of the VR&E Quality Assurance and Site Visit Team conduct the
Team             site visits. Additional members may be added for special site visits, as the
                 need arises.




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3. Site Visit Implementation


Introduction       This topic contains information on the implementation of the site visit
                   program, including

                      length of site visit
                      entrance briefing
                      significant findings
                      meeting with Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) staff
                       members
                      exit briefing
                      reporting method
                      regional office (RO) response to action items, and
                      site visit findings.


Change Date        March 15, 2006


a. Length of       The site visit is normally completed in five (5) workdays.
Site Visit


b. Entrance        The visit commences on the first day of the site visit with an entrance briefing
Briefing           to the RO management which includes the

                      Director
                      Assistant Director
                      VR&E Officer, and
                      Assistant VR&E Officer.



c. Significant     Any findings of major significance are discussed with the Director and the
Findings           VR&E Officer at the time they are identified.


d. Meeting         A portion of the site visit is set aside for a meeting with the VR&E staff
with VR&E          members for a question and answer or training session.
Staff Members

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3. Site Visit Implementation, Continued


e. Exit Briefing   The visit concludes with an exit briefing with the RO management on
                   preliminary findings. A written report is not provided at that time.




f. Reporting       The VR&E Service completes an Executive Summary and a Final Site Visit
Method             Report. Protocol for issuing these reports is as follows

                    The Executive Summary is submitted to the Office of the Under Secretary
                     within 10 days of completion of the site visit.

                    The Final Survey Report is submitted to the Office of the Under Secretary
                     and Office of Field Operations within 30 days of completion of the site
                     visit. The final report provides details of findings and the required action
                     items for areas that need improvement.


g. RO              A surveyed RO is given one month from the time of receipt of the final report
Response to        to respond to all action items. The RO response will include a plan for each
Action Items       action item and specific dates of completion. Responses are directed to
                   VR&E Service.


h. Site Visit      Best practices will be communicated quarterly to all ROs.
Findings
                   Policy clarification letters will be provided to all ROs when recurring issues
                   on different offices are found during visits.




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4. Scope of Site Visit


Introduction       This topic contains information regarding the scope of the site visit program,
                   including

                    program management, and
                    service delivery.



Change Date        March 15, 2006


a. Program         Program Management is assessed for the overall effectiveness of the
Management         Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) Division management and
                   operations. The focus is on

                      internal control
                      fiscal and contracting activities
                      work environment
                      workload
                      staffing, and
                      quality assurance (QA) and information technology support.


b. Service         This area is assessed for the overall office’s processes and procedures for
Delivery           delivery of quality and timely services to the veterans. Primary focus is on

                      entitlement determinations
                      case management services
                      fiscal payments
                      appellate services, and
                      case closures.

                   Case reviews are conducted for this area to verify appropriate processes and
                   procedures are being followed in the administration of benefits and the
                   provision of services to the Chapter 31 participants.




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5. Site Visit Protocol


Introduction     This topic contains the Site Visit Protocol, which consists of the following
                 areas of consideration:

                    program management
                    facility
                    staffing
                    outbased sites
                    training
                    quality
                    internal control
                    data management
                    fiscal activities
                    contracting activities
                    working relationships
                    service delivery
                    motivation and outreach activities
                    eligibility determination
                    initial evaluation
                    extended evaluation
                    rehabilitation planning
                    employment services
                    independent living services
                    appellate services
                    case closures
                    case status development
                    information technology
                    requested counseling, and
                    vocational rehabilitation panel (VRP).


Change Date      March 15, 2006


a. Program       The review evaluates the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E)
Management       division management, staffing, workload, staff effectiveness, staff training,
                 internal quality control, work environment, information technology support,
                 local Quality Assurance review process, fiscal activities, contracting, and
                 working relationships.

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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


b. Facility        This topic focuses on physical layout of the office, its conduciveness for
                   counseling, and accessibility to veterans.

                    Review Elements                    Data Source        Method
                    Is the office accessible to        Physical layout    Walk through the
                    individuals with disabilities?                        office and observe
                                                                          physical layout of
                                                                          office.
                    Does the office provide            Counseling         Check if rooms used
                    adequate privacy for               rooms              for counseling provide
                    counseling?                                           privacy.
                    Is the division organized to       Physical layout    Observe if there is
                    facilitate functional activities                      adequate space
                    and reception of clients?                             provided for all
                                                                          activities.

                    Is the staff provided with         Work               Check employee work
                    personal computers and             equipment          areas.
                    equipment necessary to perform
                    their particular jobs?
                    Are sensitive records securely     Records and        Check records and
                    protected?                         files              files
                     Is there a testing room and up-   Physical layout    Check work areas.
                     to-date professional library?     and materials

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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


c. Staffing      This topic focuses on the division’s organizational structure, utilization of
                 staffing resources and workload management.

                  Review Elements                     Data Source        Method
                  Is the size and organization of     Paid System        Review division
                  staff consistent with the                              organizational chart
                  division workload?                                     for staff configuration
                                                                         and strength.

                  Is there adequate                   Resource            Compare station
                  administrative support to           Allocation          staffing with other
                  accomplish program activities?      Model               stations of
                                                                          comparable size and
                                                                          composition.

                  Are position descriptions and       Position            Review performance
                  performance standards               Descriptions &      standards and
                  properly developed and              Performance         position descriptions
                  maintained?                         Standards           on file.
                  Does each VRC or CP manage          COIN TAR            Discuss caseload
                  evaluation/planning, rehab          6013,               distribution with
                  services, Independent Living        CWINRS              VR&E Officer
                  and employment services             Intranet            (VR&EO)
                  caseloads?                          Reports
                  If VRCs and CPs manage              Interview           Discuss with
                  specialized caseloads, how                              VR&EO
                  does this impact division
                  workload management?
                  Is there an Employment              Paid System         Discuss job duties
                  Coordinator in the office?                              with Employment
                                                                          Coordinator (EC) and
                                                                          with VR&EO.

                  Describe the duties of the EC.      Interview           Discuss job duties
                                                                          with EC and with
                                                                          VR&EO


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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


d. Outbased        This topic focuses on the division’s location and supervision of outbased
Sites              stations as compared to the geographic location of the workload.

                    Review Elements                    Data Source       Method
                    Describe outbased office           Division          Analyze
                    locations, staffing and            Organizational    workload/staffing
                    workloads.                         Chart             data for each office.

                    Are outbased sites properly        Division           Visit outbased
                    staffed?                           Organizational     stations as needed.
                                                       Chart
                    Are outbased sites strategically   Geographic      Analyze report to
                    located to insure all veterans     Estimate        check veteran
                    are reached?                       Report          population in the
                                                                       area(s).
                     Are outbased stations provided    Physical         Interview outbased
                     with necessary support tools      observation and staff and check
                     and equipment, e.g., internet     interviews       equipment/tools in
                     access, T1-line/VPN account                        outbased location.
                     to connect to CWINRS/BDN,
                     etc.?
                     If support is not provided, how   Report(s),         Review report(s) or
                     does that impact work             Interviews         statement of impact
                     processes?
                    Is implementation of policies      Interviews         Interview outbased
                    and procedures consistent with                        staff regarding
                    those implemented in the                              consistencies in
                    regional office?                                      implementation of
                                                                          policies and
                                                                          procedures.

                    How does outbased staff            Interviews         Interview outbased
                    interact with and receive                             and RO staff
                    support from RO staff and
                    participate in staff meetings
                    and training?


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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


e. Training      This topic focuses on staff competency to insure that there is ongoing
                 training and development for staff engaged in providing rehabilitation
                 services to the veterans.

                  Review Elements                   Data Source        Method
                  Are professional training         Training Plan      Review staff training
                  activities encouraged, and        and Schedule       plan and schedule.
                  training opportunities provided
                  to the staff?
                  Is there a training plan or       Training Plan      Discuss
                  schedule for new employees?       and Schedule       developmental
                                                                       activities with staff
                                                                       members.

                  Does the division have            Physical layout    Examine physical
                  adequate access to training       of rooms/          layout and interview
                  rooms and equipment?              equipment          staff responsible for
                                                                       training.
                  Are regulations and manuals       Regulations and    Review regulations
                  updated to reflect current        Manuals            and manuals for
                  changes? Who is responsible                          recent changes and
                  for disseminating changes to                         implementation.
                  staff?
                  Does the division have an in-      Training Plan     Review plan for
                  service training plan or           and Schedule      inclusion of policy
                  schedule for the professional                        changes and
                  and technical staff on issues,                       implementation in
                  such as policy and procedural                        training.
                  changes. and implementation?

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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


f. Quality         This topic focuses on quality of rehabilitation services as measured by local
                   and national Quality Reviews.

                    Review Elements                    Data Source        Method
                    Are local Quality Assurance        Local QA           Review Intranet
                    (QA) reviews performed             Results            website for Review of
                    regularly?                                            Quality.

                    Are local QA review files          QA Files           Examine results of
                    maintained?                                           QA reviews
                                                                          conducted locally.
                    Are local QA Reviews properly      QA Reports         Review QA reports
                    entered into the QA website?                          website

                    Are QA review results used to      Management         Determine if QA
                    assess program deficient           Reports            review results are
                    trends?                                               analyzed and utilized.
                    Is there a link between the QA     Training Plan      Review training plan/
                    Review results and training?                          schedule
                     Have appropriate actions been     QA Results         Review to determine
                     taken on issues identified for                       if corrective actions
                     correction during CO and local                       from last two national
                     reviews?                                             QA reviews have been
                                                                          completed.


g. Internal        This topic focuses on program and data integrity and oversight of the division
Control            via reports and briefings. It is also concerned with how information in these
                   reports and briefings are utilized in the division’s strategic planning.

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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


h. Data          This topic analyzes the RO’s use of division reports and briefings and how
Management       these are utilized in the division’s strategic planning.


                  Review Elements                  Data Source        Method
                  Are reports provided to the      Management         Review reports.
                  RO Director to assess how        Reports
                  well the office is performing?

                  What reports are provided to     Reports, e.g.,     Review each report for
                  the Regional Office Director?    Quarterly          the listed elements.
                                                   Mgmt Briefing,
                                                   SAO, other
                                                   reports

                  Are counter measures for         Management         Review reports.
                  deficiencies implemented to      Reports
                  identify opportunities for
                  improvement?

                  Are actions taken for            Management         Review reports.
                  improvement, such as             Reports
                  resource management, staff
                  and training development,
                  etc., when deficiencies are
                  found?

                  Is source data for SAO reports   SAO Reports        Review of source data.
                  maintained so that a separate
                  review would result in
                  consistent findings?

                  Are system access authorities    VAF 20-8824;       Interview Information
                  appropriately established        VAF20-8824e        Security Officer
                  outlining the appropriate
                  commands and levels of
                  access for each staff member?

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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


h. Data Management (continued)

                    Review Elements                  Data Source    Method
                    Are levels of access authority   VAF 20-8824;   Interview Information
                    outlined in OFO Letter 20F-      VAF 20-8824e   Security Officer
                    03-13 followed? Detail the
                    levels of authority for each
                    staff member.

                    Do all staff members have        VAF 20-8824;   Interview Information
                    appropriate passwords?           VAF 20-8824E   Security Officer

                    Does IRM provide support for     Interviews     Interview IRM staff
                    user training and computer
                    applications for the division?

                    Is Cyber-Security training or    Interviews     Interview ISO and/or
                    other required training                         IRM
                    provided to staff?

                    Are BDN and CWINRS               Interviews     Interview Information
                    Security guidelines followed?                   Security Officer

                    What action is taken when        Interviews     Interview Information
                    601 Report is received in the                   Security Officer
                    division?


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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


i. Fiscal        This topic reviews the fiscal activities in the division and the fiscal oversight
Activities       provided within and outside the division.


                  Review Elements                    Data Source          Method
                  Who has been issued                Interview            Interview Purchase
                  purchase cards? What is the                             Card Coordinator
                  single purchase and monthly
                  limit?

                  Are purchase cards                 Purchase Card        Review purchase card
                  appropriately utilized             Statements           statements and
                  according to the set                                    signatures
                  guidelines?

                  Who is the purchase card           Interviews           Interview VR&E
                  Approving Official? Purchase                            Officer & Finance
                  Card Coordinator?                                       official

                  Are purchase card                  Purchase Card        Review purchase card
                  transactions properly              Log Sheets           log sheets
                  documented and readily
                  available for audit?

                  Are purchase card statements       Purchase Card        Review purchase card
                  reconciled timely by the card      Statements           statement file
                  holder and approved by the
                  Approving Official?

                  Are cost thresholds                Cost                 Review Cost
                  effectively implemented and        Thresholds           Threshold Statement
                  requests for increase              Statement            and requests for
                  appropriately made?                                     increase

                  Are purchase card                  CWINRS               CWINRS Finance Tab
                  transactions appropriately         Financial data
                  documented in CWINRS?


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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


i. Fiscal Activities (continued)

                     Review Elements                   Data Source     Method
                     Who processes Chapter 31          Position        Interview appropriate
                     invoices from training            Descriptions    staff
                     facilities, contractors and
                     other vendors for payment?

                     Are invoices timely reviewed      Invoices        Review invoices
                     and approved for payment by
                     the case managers?

                     Are voucher payments              CWINRS          CWINRS Financial
                     properly documented in                            data
                     CWINRS and paid through
                     FMS?

                     Are Revolving Fund                CER Folders /   CER Folder /
                     Advances (RFA),                   CWINRS          CWINRS review
                     Employment Adjustment
                     Allowances (EAA),
                     retroactive induction and
                     beneficiary travel payments
                     processed timely and
                     accurately?

                     Is a record of all RFAs kept in   RFA file        RFA file
                     a central file?

                     Are reasons and justifications    CER Folder      CER/RFA file review
                     for RFAs properly
                     documented?

                     Are subsistence allowance         CER Folder      CER Folder reviews
                     awards processed timely and
                     accurately?


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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


i. Fiscal Activities (continued)

                     Review Elements                 Data Source     Method
                     Are purchases for Chapter 31    CER Folder /    CER Folder /
                     books, supplies and services    CWINRS          CWINRS reviews
                     appropriately justified and
                     documented?

                     Are computer purchases          CER Folder /    CER Folder /
                     appropriately made, justified   CWINRS          CWINRS reviews
                     and documented in the CER
                     Folder and in CWINRS?

                     Is there signed documentation   CER Folder /    CER Folder /
                     to verify that supplies and     CWINRS          CWINRS
                     equipment were received by                      reviews
                     the veteran?

                     What audit procedures are in    Interviews /    Review vouchers and
                     place to provide oversight to   Voucher         purchase card
                     purchase card and voucher       reviews /       statements
                     processing activities?          Purchase Card   Interview VR&EO and
                                                     Statements      Fiscal personnel



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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


j. Contracting     This topic focuses on review of contracting activities, such as contract
Activities         agreements, disbursement, and insuring station’s adherence to contracting
                   guidelines to include the National Acquisition Strategy (NAS).

                    Review Elements                       Data Source   Method
                    Are contracts or letters of           Contracts     Review division and
                    agreement appropriately                             NAS contract files for
                    developed and maintained?                           implementation of
                                                                        agreement.

                    Is there a master contract file for   Contracts     Review division and
                    each NAS contract to include:                       NAS contract files for
                                                                        implementation of
                    a) Executed Contract – to                           agreement.
                    include signed Standard Form
                    1449; solicitation and price
                    list(s).
                    b) Copies of Authorizations for
                    Services (referrals).
                    c) COTR Designation to
                    National CO
                    d) COTR Delegation Letter
                    e) Quality Assurance/Past
                    Performance Reports
                    f) Trade Off Documentation
                    when higher cost contractor is
                    utilized
                    g) Market Research
                    h) Memo authorizing option
                    renewal
                    i) Bilaterally signed
                    modifications
                    j) Copy of Contractor’s
                    Insurance Certificate
                    k) Contractor’s Invoices
                    (copies)
                    l) Supporting Documents – i.e.,
                    Contractor’s proposals and
                    request to Contracting Officer to
                    process modifications.

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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


j. Contracting Activities (continued)

                    Review Elements                     Data Source       Method
                    Are contracts and agreements        Contracts         Select (#) cases and
                    executed timely and reflective                        review to assure
                    of current fees and services?                         provided services are
                                                                          in compliance with the
                                                                          terms of the contract.

                    Are contracts and agreements        Contracts         Select (#) cases and
                    executed timely and reflective                        review to assure
                    of current fees and services?                         provided services are
                                                                          in compliance with the
                                                                          terms of the contract.

                    Do employees have                   Delegations of    In accordance with
                    appropriate training and            Authority &       VR&E Letter 28-04-
                    contract authorities - Basic        COTR              04.
                    Level Delegation of                 Certificates of
                    Authority/Warrant or COTR           Completion
                    Training?

                    Are contracted services             Contracts         Select division or NAS
                    provided in compliance with                           Contracts to assure
                    the terms and conditions of                           provided services are
                    the contract?                                         in compliance with the
                                                                          terms of the contract.

                    How many and what types of          Contracts         Select contract files to
                    services procured are                                 determine types of
                    currently in place, i.e., Initial                     services procured.
                    Assessment; Case
                    Management; Employments
                    Services?

                    Are payments made within            Contract File /   Review CWINRS
                    the established budget limits?      CWINRS            contract file


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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


j. Contracting Activities (continued)

                    Review Elements                  Data Source       Method
                    Are contracts accurately         CWINRS            Review CWINRS
                    obligated and paid in                              contract file
                    CWINRS?

                    Are contracting activities       Contracts         CWINRS / CER
                    properly documented in           CWINRS            Folder review
                    CWINRS and CER Folder to
                    avoid duplication of services,
                    e.g., CH36 contracting, etc.?

                    Are contractors paid in          Contract          Review FAR 52.232-
                    accordance with the Prompt       Payment           25 Prompt Payment
                    Payment Act? If there is                           http://www.arnet.gov/f
                    disparate payment, then                            ar/
                    explain.



k. Working         This topic focuses on VR&E Division’s effective working relationship within
Relationships      the RO and other Federal and State Agencies.


                    Review Elements                   Data Source      Method
                    Is a working relationship         Interview /      Interview VR&EO and
                    established with the Veterans     CER Folder       VSO representatives
                    Service Organizations (VSO),                       Review CER Folders
                    such as, Disabled American                         to see if VSOs are
                    Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans                       notified of adverse
                    of America, Veterans of                            actions taken.
                    Foreign Wars, American
                    Legion, etc.?

                    Is a working relationship         Interview        Interview VR&EO and
                    established with the VA                            case mgrs.
                    Medical Center?


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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


k. Working Relationships (continued)

                   Review Elements                     Data Source   Method
                   Is a working relationship           Interview     Interview VR&EO and
                   established with the Veterans                     VSC Mgr.
                   Service Center (VSC)?                             Review Chapter 31
                                                                     application processing
                                                                     procedures

                   Is a working relationship           Interview     Interview VR&EO to
                   established with the State?                       evaluate relationship
                                                                     with State Department
                                                                     of Vocational
                                                                     Rehabilitation, State
                                                                     Employment Service,
                                                                     etc.

                   Is there an existing                MOA file      Review MOA
                   Memorandum of Agreement
                   (MOA) with the Department of
                   Labor and VR&E?
                   Is a working relationship           Interview /   Interview VR&EO and
                   established with other federal      MOA file      review MOA file if
                   agencies, e.g., Social Security                   applicable
                   Administration and other
                   agencies, such as Small
                   Business Administration
                   (SBA), Service corps of
                   Retired Executives (SCORE)?

                   Are working relationships           Interview /   Interview Employment
                   established with employers?         CER Folder    Coordinator
                                                                     Review CER Folders

                   Are working relationships           Interview /   Interview Employment
                   established with other private      CER Folder    Coordinator
                   sector entities, e.g. Faith-based
                   initiatives, Helmets to                           Review CER Folders
                   Hardhats, etc.


                                                                          Continued on next page



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5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


l. Service         The survey examines each individual office’s processes or procedures for
Delivery           delivery of quality and timely services to the veterans.

                   Note: Case reviews are conducted to verify processes and procedures.
                   Quality Assurance reviews are not conducted on these cases.



m. Motivation      This topic focuses on VR&E Division’s implementation of motivation and
and Outreach       outreach activities.
Activities

                    Review Elements                  Data Source       Method
                    What outreach efforts are made Interview           Interview VR&EO &
                    to notify veterans of vocational                   Veterans Service
                    rehabilitation services and to                     Center Manager
                    motivate them to apply?

                    Are there military installations   Interview       Interview VR&E
                    in the RO jurisdiction? What                       Officer and Military
                    TAP/DTAP activities are                            Services Coordinator
                    conducted?

                    Are special efforts made to    Interview           Interview VR&E
                    contact OEF/OIF service                            Officer and OEF/OIF
                    members and veterans? Is there                     Coordinator
                    a tracking system in place?

                    Are efforts made to contact        CER Folders     Select (#) cases and
                    veterans to remind them of                         review scheduling
                    counseling/evaluation                              practices.
                    appointments?

                    What is the division’s no-show     COIN-TAR        Discuss
                    rate?                              Reports         contact/scheduling
                                                                       procedures with case
                                                                       managers.


                                                                             Continued on next page




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March 15, 2006                                                            M28, Part VII, Chapter 3



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


m. Motivation and Outreach Activities (continued)

                  Review Elements                   Data Source       Method
                  Are motivational contacts made    CER Folders       Select (#) cases and
                  to veterans in Interrupted                          review scheduling
                  status?                                             practices.

                  Are these contacts timely,        CER Folders       CER Folder review
                  ongoing, and documented in
                  veterans’ counseling file?



n. Eligibility   This topic focuses on timely vocational rehabilitation claims processing.
Determination

                   Review Elements                   Data Source       Method
                   Is the automated General          Interview         Discuss Ch31 claims
                   Eligibility Determination                           processing with
                   (GED) processing performed                          responsible staff
                   within the VR&E division?                           member.

                   How are Chapter 31                Interview         VR&E Officer
                   applications processed?

                   Which staff members have the      Interview         Interview staff/ISO
                   CEST command? CAUT?

                   What is the average number of     Intranet          CER Folder review
                   days to process an application    Report
                   using GED?                        (EP719)


                                                                             Continued on next page




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M28, Part VII, Chapter 3                                                              March 15, 2006



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


n. Eligibility Determination (continued)

                    Review Elements                     Data Source       Method
                    What is the average number of       CWINRS            CER Folder review
                    days to process an application      Intranet
                    for a memorandum rating?            Report
                                                        (EP095, 295,
                                                        719)

                    If there is a delay in the          CER Folder        CER Folder review /
                    application processing, in what     CWINRS            CWINRS intranet
                    area does the delay occur, e.g.,                      reports
                    VR&E, Service Center, etc.?


o. Initial         This topic focuses on initial evaluation process to insure timeliness and
Evaluation         appropriateness in determination of entitlement.


                    Review Elements                     Data Source       Method
                    What is the average number of       Intranet          Review number of
                    days for clearing pending issue     Report            days to notification of
                    719?                                                  entitlement
                                                                          determination from
                                                                          current Monthly
                                                                          Operations Reports

                    Is veteran notified when the        CER Folders       Select (#) cases and
                    entitlement determination is                          review method of
                    made ?                                                notification of
                                                                          entitlement decision.

                    Are entitlement determinations      CER Folder        National QA Reports
                    correct?


                                                                                Continued on next page




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March 15, 2006                                                              M28, Part VII, Chapter 3



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


o. Initial Evaluation (continued)

                    Review Elements                      Data Source     Method
                    Are entitlement determinations       CER Folder      National QA Reports
                    adequately documented?

                    Is a Transferable Work Skills        CER Folder      Select (#) cases and
                    analysis used in the evaluation?                     review local
                                                                         procedures for initial
                                                                         evaluation.

                    Is an assessment of the              CER Folder      Select (#) cases and
                    veteran’s interests, abilities and                   review assessment
                    aptitudes conducted?                                 procedures



p. Extended       This topic focuses on the process to determine feasibility of veteran to
Evaluation        achieve a vocational goal.

                    Review Elements                      Data Source    Method
                    Are the reasons for utilizing        CER Folders    Select (#) cases in
                    extended evaluation properly                        Extended Evaluation.
                    justified?

                    Is the reason for decision           CER Folders    Review cases to
                    concerning feasibility properly                     identify best practices
                    explained and well                                  and/or problematic
                    documented?                                         areas.


                                                                               Continued on next page




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M28, Part VII, Chapter 3                                                              March 15, 2006



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


p. Extended Evaluation (continued)

                    Review Elements                    Data Source         Method
                    Are appropriate extended           CER Folders         Select (#) cases in
                    evaluation services prescribed                         Extended Evaluation
                    to determine whether it is                             for review
                    reasonably feasible for veteran
                    to pursue a vocational goal?

                    Are appropriate Extended           CER Folders         Select (#) cases in
                    Evaluation services outlined in                        Extended Evaluation
                    the IEEP?

                    Are veterans receiving             CER Folders         Select (#) cases in
                    Extended Evaluation services                           Extended Evaluation
                    appropriately supervised?



q.                 This topic focuses on the processes the case manager utilizes to develop
Rehabilitation     appropriate individualized plan of rehabilitation services:
Planning
                      Individualized extended evaluation plan (IEEP)
                      Individualized written rehabilitation plan (IWRP)
                      Individualized Independent living plan (IILP)
                      Individualized employment assistance plan (IEAP)

                    Review Elements                  Data Source           Method
                    Is information adequately        CER Folders           Discuss local
                    developed to plan rehabilitation                       processes/ approaches
                    services to meet the veteran’s                         in developing a
                    needs?                                                 rehabilitation plan.

                    Does the plan outline all          CER Folders         Select (#) cases and
                    services necessary to meet the                         review plan
                    veteran’s needs as identified in                       development narrative.
                    the initial evaluation?


                                                                                Continued on next page




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March 15, 2006                                                        M28, Part VII, Chapter 3



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


q. Rehabilitation Planning (continued)

                   Review Elements                   Data Source   Method
                   Has vocational exploration        CER Folders   Select (#) cases and
                   occurred?                                       review plan
                                                                   development narrative.
                   Are problem areas, such as,       CER Folders   Select (#) cases and
                   medical, financial needs,                       review plan
                   accommodations and academic                     development narrative.
                   deficiencies identified and
                   addressed?

                   Are plans redeveloped as the      CER Folders   Discuss with
                   needs of the veteran change and                 Employment
                   when there is a shift in the                    Coordinator (if EC is
                   economy?                                        assigned in office) or
                                                                   case managers to verify
                                                                   use of local labor
                                                                   market trends in
                                                                   developing
                                                                   rehabilitation plan.

                   Are rehabilitation plans          CER Folders   Select (#) cases and
                   developed to correspond to the                  review plan
                   local labor market trends and                   development narrative.
                   forecasts?

                   Is market analysis utilized in    CER Folders   Select (#) cases and
                   developing employment goals?                    review plan
                                                                   development narrative.


                                                                        Continued on next page




                                                                                         3-29
M28, Part VII, Chapter 3                                                            March 15, 2006



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


r. Employment      This topic focuses on the process the case manager uses to determine
Services           veterans’ job readiness and to assist them in obtaining a suitable employment.

                    Review Elements                    Data Source       Method
                    Is IEAP developed 60 days          CER Folders       Review CER Folders /
                    prior completion of objectives                       Discuss local
                    of the IWRP?                                         processes/approaches
                                                                         in providing
                                                                         employment services.

                    Has the veteran been               CER Folders       Select and review (#)
                    appropriately determined to be                       cases in employment
                    job ready and placed into Job                        services.
                    Ready status timely?

                    Are monthly follow up              CER Folders       Select and review (#)
                    contacts made to determine                           cases in employment
                    veteran’s job search status and                      services.
                    properly documented?

                    Are veteran’s job search           CER Folders       Select and review (#)
                    activities documented?                               cases in employment
                                                                         services.

                    What assistance does the EC        CER Folders       Select and review (#)
                    provide in the job search                            cases in employment
                    process? The DVOP?                                   services.

                    If veteran is unable to obtain     CER Folders       Select and review (#)
                    employment, is a need for                            cases in employment
                    additional services explored?                        services.


                                                                              Continued on next page




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March 15, 2006                                                       M28, Part VII, Chapter 3



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


r. Employment Services (continued)

                   Review Elements                   Data Source   Method
                   Is determination of suitability   CER Folders   Select and review (#)
                   of employment determined                        cases in Rehabilitated
                   before veteran is declared                      status
                   rehabilitated?

                   Are post-placement                CER Folders   Select and review (#)
                   employment services provided                    cases in employment
                   to the veteran?                                 services.

                   Are the days to employment        CER Folders   Select and review (#)
                   accurate?                                       cases in employment
                                                                   services.

                   What practices impact the days    CER Folders   Select and review (#)
                   to employment?                                  cases in employment
                                                                   services.

                                                                        Continued on next page




                                                                                        3-31
M28, Part VII, Chapter 3                                                             March 15, 2006



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


s. Independent     This topic focuses on the process the case manager utilizes to provide
Living (IL)        veterans with services necessary to achieve independence in their daily living.
Services

                    Review Elements                    Data Source       Method
                    Are IL plans based on              CER Folders       IL CER Folder
                    comprehensive IL needs                               reviews
                    assessments?

                    Are IL objectives measurable,      CER Folders       IL CER Folders
                    observable and sustainable?                          reviews

                    Are independent living services    CER Folders       Discuss local
                    efficiently and timely provided                      processes/ approaches
                    to meet the veteran’s needs?                         in providing
                                                                         independent living
                                                                         services.

                    Are all psychological, medical     CER Folders       IL CER Folder
                    and legal issues addressed in                        reviews
                    the evaluation when
                    developing a plan for
                    independent living?

                    Is adequate supervision and        CER Folders       IL CER Folder
                    oversight of IL cases being                          reviews
                    conducted?
                    Is station percentage of IL        Intranet          Review MOR
                    consistent with the national       Reports
                    average?

                                                                               Continued on next page




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March 15, 2006                                                           M28, Part VII, Chapter 3



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


t. Appellate     This topic focuses on the provision of due process and appeal rights
Services         procedures to veterans.

                  Review Elements                    Data Source      Method
                  Are veterans properly advised      CER Folder       Review (#) cases in
                  of adverse actions and their                        Interrupted,
                  rights to appeal a decision?                        Rehabilitated and
                                                                      Discontinued status

                  Are appropriate due process        CER Folder       Review (#) cases in
                  procedures followed upon                            Rehabilitated and
                  declaration of rehabilitation or                    Discontinued status
                  discontinuance?

                  Are statements of the case         SOC file         CER Folder review
                  properly prepared and provided
                  to veterans?

                  Are accredited Veterans            CER Folder       CER Folder review
                  Service Organizations
                  appropriately informed of
                  actions concerning decisions
                  on veterans claims?

                                                                            Continued on next page




                                                                                            3-33
M28, Part VII, Chapter 3                                                           March 15, 2006



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


u. Case            This topic focuses on procedures the case manager follows for appropriate
Closures           closures of cases.

                    Review Elements                   Data Source      Method
                    What is the trend in days to      COIN TAR         Review COIN TAR
                    close Applicant and Evaluation    6007             6007
                    and Planning statuses?

                    What is the disallowance rate     COIN TAR         Review COIN TAR
                    for failure to pursue a claim?    6011             6011
                    For non-entitlement?

                    How does this division’s          COIN TAR         Review COIN TAR
                    disallowance rate from            6011             6011
                    Applicant and Evaluation and
                    Planning statuses compared
                    with the national trend?


v. Case Status     This topic focuses on timely and effective update in case statuses.
Development        Required Sources: Current Monthly Operations Report (MOR) and Local &
                   National COIN TAR 6002 and 6003.

                    Review Elements               Data Source          Method
                    What percentage of the active Intranet             Review MOR
                    workload is in Interrupted    Reports
                    status? How does this compare
                    to the national average?

                    What is the average number of    Intranet          Review MOR
                    days of cases in Interrupted     Reports
                    status?


                                                                             Continued on next page




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March 15, 2006                                                       M28, Part VII, Chapter 3



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


v. Case Status Development (continued)

                  Review Elements                   Data Source   Method
                  What percentage of Interrupted    Intranet      Review MOR
                  status cases have been in that    Reports
                  status over 365 days?

                  What percentage of cases in       COIN TAR      COIN TAR Review
                  RTE status are not receiving      6013 Report
                  subsistence allowance? How
                  does this compare with the
                  national average?

                   What percentage of cases in      COIN TAR      Calculate number of
                   RTE have not received            6013 Report   RTE cases which are
                   subsistence allowance for more                 not receiving
                   than 12 months? 24 months?                     subsistence allowance
                                                                  for more than 6, 9 or 12
                                                                  months

                                                                        Continued on next page




                                                                                        3-35
M28, Part VII, Chapter 3                                                           March 15, 2006



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


w. Information     This topic focuses on IT support, i.e., Benefits Delivery Network (BDN), and
Technology         Corporate WINRS processing to insure appropriate and efficient update of
                   veterans records.

                    Review Elements                   Data Source       Method
                    Are Ch31 Master Records and       CWINRS            Select (#) cases and
                    CWINRS records properly           BDN               review BDN M35
                    established and maintained?                         screens and CWINRS
                                                                        data.

                    Does the number of cases in       COIN TAR          Compare number of
                    each case status closely          6004 Report /     cases in each status in
                    correlate in BDN and              CWINRS            BDN and in CWINRS
                    CWINRS?

                    Is the disallowance of claims     CER Folders /     CER Folder and BDN
                    for non-entitlement and failure   BDN               review of cases
                    to pursue appropriately                             disallowed
                    processed in BDN?

                    Is Corporate WINRS                CER Folder /      Review CER Folders
                    accurately and timely updated?    CWINRS            and CWINRS

                    Are case activities under         CWINRS            Review CER Folders
                    different programs accurately                       and CWINRS
                    and timely entered in
                    CWINRS?

                                                                             Continued on next page




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March 15, 2006                                                         M28, Part VII, Chapter 3



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


x. Requested     This topic focuses on counseling services provided to veterans under the
Counseling       following programs: Chapter 18, Spina Bifida; Chapter 30, Montgomery GI
                 Bill; Chapter 32; Chapter 35; Chapter 36; Chapter 1606; and Chapter 1607.

                  Review Elements                  Data Source      Method
                  How many requested               CWINRS           Review non-Chapter
                  counseling cases have been                        31 cases in CWINRS
                  completed in the past 12
                  months?

                  Are contract services utilized   CER Folders      Review counseling
                  or does VR&E staff provide                        files
                  requested counseling services?

                  Are requested counseling         CER Folders      Review counseling
                  services provided in                              files
                  accordance with current
                  standard and policy?

                  Are contact narratives and       CER Folders      Review counseling
                  services well documented?                         files


                                                                         Continued on next page




                                                                                          3-37
M28, Part VII, Chapter 3                                                            March 15, 2006



5. Site Visit Protocol, Continued


y. Vocational      This section focuses on the organization and function of the Vocational
Rehabilitation     Rehabilitation Panel (VRP) as required in 38 CFR 21.60.
Panel (VRP)

                    Review Elements                      Data Source    Method
                    Does a VRP exist?                    Interview/VR   Review VRP files for
                                                         P File         delegation of authority
                                                                        of panel members,
                                                                        case referrals and
                                                                        panel deliberations.

                    Is the panel appropriately           VRP File       Review VRP file
                    staffed?

                    What types of cases are              VRP File       Review VRP file
                    referred to the VRP?

                    Are appropriate issues               VRP File       Review VRP file
                    presented to the panel for
                    considerations, e.g., feasibility,
                    assistance with rehabilitation
                    planning?

                    How often does the VRP meet?         VRP File       Review VRP file

                    Are the panel’s                      VRP File       Review VRP file
                    recommendations effectively
                    utilized and considered by the
                    staff?

                    Are cases for review by panel        VRP File       Review VRP file
                    accurately prepared and panel
                    recommendations well
                    summarized?

                    How are Chapter 35 SRP cases         VRP File       Review VRP file
                    evaluated?




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