(Washington, D.C.) – Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc (VVA) applauds the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for attempting to utilize modern technology in the adjudication of claims for VA benefits. “We have been advocating for years that the VA implement some type of meaningful adjudication software and lifetime electronic health records,” said John Rowan, VVA National President.
“Although we commend the VA in their recent decision, we are somewhat disappointed that it took them this long to attempt to put a plan into action. VA also has a horrendous track record in managing and supervising IT contracts. We only hope they have learned from past mistakes and that they are prepared to use the lessons they have learned,” noted Rowan.
“There are, of course, many unanswered questions about VA’s proposal for which we hope to receive answers in the very near future. The VA News Release stated, ‘The contract is expected to be awarded in April with proposed solutions offered to VA within 90-days. Implementation of the solution is expected within 150 days.’ What concerns us is that VA will issue a contract for claims adjudication assistance before it knows what it wants and needs. It would obviously be poor judgment to execute a contract before the terms and conditions have been enunciated,” said Rowan.
There is also a concern that claimants for benefits with a claim based on ischemic heart disease may have their claim granted before a similar claimant with a claim such as diabetes type II related to exposure to Agent Orange. We must ensure that all veterans, no matter when or where they served, are treated equally. An additional concern is for claimants who file a claim based on ischemic heart disease and other conditions not related to exposure to Agent Orange. How will the VA process these claims in two different locations when there is only one claims file?
We are grateful to the VA and Secretary Shinseki, however we are still awaiting additional details regarding the implementation of this proposed initiative.
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”