(a)The Secretary shall carry out a quality assurance program in the Veterans Benefits Administration. The program may be carried out through a single quality assurance division in the Administration or through separate quality assurance entities for each of the principal organizational elements (known as “services”) of the Administration.
(b)The Secretary shall ensure that any quality assurance entity established and operated under subsection (a) is established and operated so as to meet generally applicable governmental standards for independence and internal controls for the performance of quality reviews of Government performance and results.
(1)The Secretary shall enter into a contract with an independent third-party entity to conduct, during the three-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008, an assessment of the quality assurance program carried out under subsection (a).
(2)The assessment conducted under paragraph (1) shall evaluate the following:
(A)The quality and accuracy of the work of employees of the Veterans Benefits Administration, using a statistically valid sample of such employees and a statistically valid sample of such work.
(B)The performance of each regional office of the Veterans Benefits Administration.
(C)The accuracy of the disability ratings assigned under the schedule for rating disabilities under section
1155 of this title.
(D)The consistency of disability ratings among regional offices of the Veterans Benefits Administration, based on a sample of specific disabilities.
(E)The performance of employees and managers of the Veterans Benefits Administration.
(3)The Secretary shall develop a mechanism for the automated gathering and producing of data that can be used to monitor and assess trends relating to the items described in paragraph (2).
(A)Beginning on the date that is six months after the date of the enactment of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008, the Secretary shall—
(i)for each claim for disability compensation under laws administered by the Secretary submitted to the Secretary on or after such date, retain, monitor, and store in an accessible format the data described in subparagraph (B); and
(ii)develop a demographic baseline for the data retained, monitored, and stored under subparagraph (A).
(B)The data described in this subparagraph includes the following:
(i)For each claim for disability compensation under laws administered by the Secretary submitted by a claimant—
(I)the State in which the claimant resided when the claim was submitted;
(II)the decision of the Secretary with respect to the claim and each issue claimed; and
(III)the regional office and individual employee of the Department responsible for rating the claim.
(ii)The State in which the claimant currently resides.
(iii)Such other data as the Secretary determines is appropriate for monitoring the accuracy and consistency of decisions with respect to such claims.
(5)Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require the Secretary to replace the quality assurance program under subsection (a) that was in effect on the day before the date of the enactment of this subsection.
The date of the enactment of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008 and the date of the enactment of this subsection, referred to in subsec. (c)(1), (4)(A), (5), mean the date of enactment of Pub. L. 110–389, which was approved Oct. 10, 2008.
Pub. L. 106–117, title VIII, § 801(b),Nov. 30, 1999, 113 Stat. 1586, provided that: “Subchapter III [now Subchapter II] of chapter
77 of title
38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall take effect at the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act [Nov. 30, 1999].”
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