VA, De­fense Depart­ment up­grade por­tal to ad­dress claims back­log

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

The Vet­er­ans Af­fairs and De­fense de­part­ments launched an en­hanced, Web por­tal to try and ad­dress its no­to­ri­ous back­log of ben­e­fits claims af­fect­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of vet­er­ans. The VA said the in­te­gra­tion of the eBen­e­fits por­tal with the new in­ter­nal Vet­er­ans Ben­e­fits Man­age­ment Sys­tem (VBMS) elec­tronic claims pro­cess­ing sys­tem “marks a ma­jor mile­stone” in its move from pa­per to dig­i­tal claims. The VA has re­cently com­pleted the im­ple­men­ta­tion of VBMS at all 56 of its re­gional of­fices, a spokesman said. The por­tal fea­tures a “step-by-step, in­ter­view­style ap­pli­ca­tion, with pre-pop­u­lated data fields and drop-down menus sim­i­lar to pop­u­lar tax prepa­ra­tion soft­ware.” VA Sec­re­tary Eric Shin­seki has made chop­ping through the ben­e­fits back­log— caused by a flood of re­turn­ing vet­er­ans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—a top pri­or­ity, and the depart­ment is count­ing on au­to­ma­tion to help elim­i­nate it by the end of 2015. The VA said that more than 65,000 claims—or 97% of all claims over 2 years old—“have been elim­i­nated from the back­log.”

— Joseph Conn

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