Thursday, August 12, 2021

VA Taking Critical Steps to Prepare for Expanded Veteran Benefits


Leaders across VA address how they are focusing on efficiency to provide all veterans with their full benefits.

Leaders from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ benefits and health units are opening up about the technical implications for a few of its recent expanded focuses in electronic health records and other benefits for veterans, especially those in underserved communities.

“I want you to know that on our end, we’re doing our that together, everywhere, we can tell that person on the other end of the phone that we haven’t given up on you,” said Dr. Carolyn Clancy, Veteran Health Administration’s deputy under secretary for Health for the Office of Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks, during DAV’s 2021 National Convention in Tampa, Florida, last weekend.

VA's recent expansions of a few key areas — including the electronic health record (EHR) program, toxic exposure benefits, claims processing and health equity — means shifting priorities on the technology supporting those processes.

Clancy reiterated the agency's focus on an enterprise structure for its EHR program to ensure a "seamless flow of information" between VA and the Defense Department, for instance.

“We believe quite strongly that we need to have a unified, enterprise approach to this,” Clancy said. “We won’t get the most out of this record and provide the highest quality, highest value care to veterans unless we are standardizing and making our workflows consistent across the system.”

As for VA's other expanded benefits, the agency is working on ensuring the technology is in place to support them. That also means expanded the research and scientific support behind these efforts.

"One of the biggest things that we’re starting to add to the equation of doing the research that Dr. Clancy’s group has done for years on presumptives, specifically Agent Orange, is looking at evidence in different areas and evidence that we have in VBA from years and decades of claims experience,” said Michael Frueh, principal deputy under secretary for benefits at Veterans Benefits Administration, at the DAV event. “That is part of this new framework that, quite honestly, we hadn’t been looking at before.”


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