Since no one objected:
National Deployment of Paperless Claims Processing System Underway (VA
News Release January 14, 2013) WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans
Affairs announced today the nationwide transition to paperless
processing of Veterans' disability claims at its regional benefits
processing offices is underway. VA is aggressively building a strong
foundation for its new electronic claims processing system, called
Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) - a lasting solution that
will transform how VA eliminates the backlog in 2015.
As of December 2012, 18 VA regional offices have implemented the new
system and are beginning to process newly received compensation claims
in an entirely digital format. The VA is on track for full deployment of
the system to the remaining 38 regional offices in 2013.
This marks a major milestone in VA's transformation of the processes and
systems used to deliver benefits to Veterans, their families, and
survivors, even while the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has
completed a record-breaking 1 million claims per year the last three
fiscal years. Critical to VA's transformation is ending the reliance on
the outmoded paper-intensive processes which prevent timely and accurate
claims processing. VA is deploying technology solutions which improve
access, drive automation, reduce variance, and enable faster and more
efficient operations to eliminate the backlog.
The current backlog of claims is the result of increased demand, over a
decade of war with many Veterans returning with severe, complex
injuries, and increased outreach to Veterans informing them of their
benefits. Secretary Shinseki also made important decisions to recognize
medical conditions related to Agent Orange service in Southeast Asia,
and to simplify the process to file claims for combat PTSD. These
decisions expanded access to benefits for hundreds of thousands of
Veterans and brought significantly more claims into the system.
VBMS was pilot-tested at select regional offices between 2010 and 2012,
with improvements and greater functionality added to system software
releases throughout the testing period. In pilot programs, the new
system cut the time to process claims nearly in half. The most recent
version of VBMS software allows VA claims representatives to establish
Veterans' claims entirely in a digital environment as "e-folders,"
receive, store, and view Veterans' submitted claim documents
electronically, identify and track the evidence VA needs from
beneficiaries and other outside sources, and quickly direct claims
electronically among regional offices to better match VA's workload with
available workforce capacity.
The system also enables VA claims processors to access online
rules-based calculators and drop-down menus to enhance standardization
and accuracy of decisions, for both electronic claims and those received
by VA in paper form and uploaded into VBMS. Processors will also use
VBMS to generate letters to Veterans concerning their claim status and
send requests to private physicians for medical records needed to
When VBMS is combined with VA's other Transformation
initiatives-including improved claims rater training, cross-functional
claims handling teams, and prioritized lanes to speed processing based
on type of claim-VA will be positioned to meet Secretary Eric K.
Shinseki's priority goal of processing Veterans' claims in 125 days or
less, at 98 percent accuracy, by the end of 2015.
For more information on VA's transformation go to http://benefits.va.gov/transformation/