VA Chief Information Officer Asserts Progress Clearing VA Claims Backlog

According to a recent article in Federal Computer, the VA’s Chief Information Officer Roger Baker claims the VA is making progress clearing VA claims backlog. In the article Baker noted that “If you’re watching the press, our claims backlog is the biggest news these days out of the VA, and has been for 20 years,” he said. “We’re doing something about it. I think everyone in this room understands that . . . it ain’t easy.”

As part of the IT overhaul, last week the VA deployed version three of the Veterans Benefits Management System, a paperless processing system for claims. VA officials first rolled out the nationwide initiative in April 2012, and Secretary Shinseki called it an important high point in VA’s transformation to achieve the goal of processing all disability claims within 125 days at a 98 percent accuracy level in 2015. “We’ve gotten the message across to the House and the Senate, and the message is pretty simple: Every dollar you invest in VA IT is going to be well spent,” Baker said. “We can account for it, we can track it [and] we can tell you what we got for it.”

Baker acknowledged the negative attention around the department’s beleaguered claims processing, but said VA is taking measures to improve the situation, though the process is time consuming. The two past decades have demonstrated the VA backlog problem isn’t something that can be fixed “by throwing more people at it – it doesn’t happen,” Baker said. “The definition of insanity, as Einstein said, is repeating the same process over and over and expecting different results,” he said.

“We have to create an automated paperless system . . . so we can actually address that backlog and [reach] the secretary’s goal of no claim greater than 125 days.” IT should focus on renovating the business, which is how VA views IT, Baker said. The objective 3 and a half years ago was to build a better IT organization, not for IT purposes but for the sake of business. That groundwork has today resulted in the department being able to deliver the technology needed to modernize the entire VA, he said.

Do You Need Help with a VA Claim?

We all hope there will be continued progress clearing VA claims backlog issues. Regardless of what issues you’re facing with the VA claims process, we are happy to answer your questions about claim denial, disability ratings, appeals and more. We welcome you to contact our team.

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