According to Federal Computer Week, the Department of Veterans Affairs continues launching more computer systems intended to streamline VA’s delivery of medical care and disability compensation benefits to America’s Veterans.
Leading VA’s urgently-needed information technology modernization effort is Deputy Secretary Scott Gould. Using new technology, especially the Internet, VA hopes to address major concerns raised by Veterans, such as obtaining medical records, communicating with healthcare providers, and filing disability claims.
One of the reasons VA is implementing so many new computer systems is because VA faces a “tidal wave of claims,” Federal Computer Week reports. VA’s backlog of claims exceeds 1.1 million and continues rising, according to VA’s Monday Morning Report issued March 26, 2012.
The long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as recent changes in benefits for Gulf War and Vietnam War Veterans created an inventory of more than 905,000 disability compensation claims at the Veterans Benefits Administration, where the average wait time for a VBA decision is seven months.
There are an additional 256,000 appealed claims at the Board of Veterans Appeals, where the average wait time for a decision is four years. What remains unknown is how VA plans to use technology to improve the quality of VA claim decisions. VA claim errors often result in frustrated Veterans without healthcare and benefits facing lengthy appeal delays.
VA hopes the new technology will enable the agency to meet VA’s goals of improving access to medical treatment, speeding up and improving the quality of disability claim decisions, and ending homelessness among our Veterans.