VA Backlog Continues To Grow Despite Concern
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) April 18, 2013 - In spite of incoming troops and vocal criticism, VA benefits backlog only continues to grow.
Military veterans are waiting an average of nine months after returning home for the Department of Veterans Affairs to process their disability claims. Congress recently criticized the VA and the Department of Defense for failing to merge troop records into one streamlined electronic system which would help to shorten the backlog.
"It seems impossible to have such a level of bureaucracy that vets are not getting the benefits to which they are entitled for such a long period of time," stated Tampa veterans attorney David W. Magann.
Reportedly, the Department of Defense chose to not link to the VA's system of health records and instead used a computerized tool to catalog files, despite vowing for the past four years to join the VA system. Their excuse? The upcoming sequester made budgeting for the comprehensive electronic system too difficult. Critics are unhappy with the continued lag times from both the DOD and the VA for troop claims.
With an additional 34,000 service members slated to return home from Afghanistan in the next 12 months, the system will only become more burdened. Both the DOD and the VA have been given a directive by President Obama to do what is needed to fix the system. As of December 2012, the average time it took to process a claim was 270 days, according to the VA.
Rep. Jeff Miller, R.-Fla., chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has requested that the VA administrators let go any “problematic employees,” instead of transferring them from office to office. The administrative "shell game" is suspected of greatly contributing to the major benefits backlogs at numerous VA regional offices. Accountability is an ongoing issue, say critics, at many VA offices around the country.
The VA currently uses an electronic system called VistA to process claims. VistA has been in use for decades, and more than 100 non-VA medical hospitals also use the system.
The VA has issued statements reaffirming the commitment to effectively partnering with the DOD to use a "single, joint, electronic health record” and to share common data, applications and interface. The DOD uses a system called Ahlta, and has so far considered VistA potentially too costly and inelegant for the entire armed services. At this time, there is still no consensus on what shared system the two will use.
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
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Tampa, Florida 33615
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Tampa, FL 33606
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