Veterans benefit from VBA computer systems innovation


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A group of Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) employees from different offices and locations worked together to speed up a process to get benefits into the hands of Veterans faster than ever by revamping computer systems.

When a Veteran does not receive his or her regular benefit, they usually contact the VBA National Call Center. That benefit inquiry goes into a system – the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) – to investigate the issue. From there, the inquiry used to go through several different computer systems that may or may not work well together. The entire process had to be tracked by the VBA Finance Center to ensure the Veteran received the proper response and/or action.

A group of employees from Financial Management Business Solutions and the VBA Finance Center, as well as directorates in the Office of Financial Management (OFM) in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, thought that VBA could do better. Working through the Salesforce computer application, the team – working remotely – devised from scratch an entirely new system that coordinates all the various computer platforms to work together seamlessly.

The new system, called Post Payments Workshop, achieved everything the group hoped. It enabled systems to work together, allowed any team member to locate the status of any claim – and most importantly – shortened the time for claims to get resolved.

These computer process improvements were devised and implemented over eight months without using additional resources or incurring expenses.

Now the group will try to tackle another issue by creating a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solution to handle repetitive tasks. RPA will free up more time for National Call Center representatives to work directly with Veterans.


Justin Allison works for VBA’s Office of Financial Management Business Solutions.

Author

Veterans Benefits Administration

Comments

  1. Rhonda DiStefano    

    I have had mostly bad experiences with the VA. From claiming benefits and trying to upgrade them to waiting a long time to get an appt. I have tried to get my healthy vet and the portal that is suppose to help us. How do I get access to these benefits and services. I have had the run around for so many year’s. I am a disabled Air Force Veteran and need help. Also I need help to move to an apartment.Please help me/us get the services we need.

  2. Rickey E Smith    

    Thank you VBA for taking the time and effort to improve the process.
    I regret that the good folks in this comments list are having difficulties; I pray that your issues get resolved.

  3. Sinned St. Cyr    

    I can fully understand the frustration and anger that some vets need to express. I have heard news stories that are truly horrendous, unforgivable, even criminal in some cases. I consider myself fortunate in that I have never encountered any of that. I have been treated at six separate VA facilities in six states and, with only a couple of exceptions, all of my experiences over the course of twenty-one years has been nothing but stellar, professional, compassionate and genuinely concerned with the welfare of our veterans. I’m not saying there haven’t been errors. I took a fecal, take-home cancer detection test in July that came back negative. In December, five months later, I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. But medicine, like all human activity is prone to certain types of errors. But without it, life on earth would be shear hell. You do the best you can and learn to take the bad with the good. In this case however, the benefits of the medical system far outweigh the evils. I’m not saying things cannot be vastly improved. They can. For sure. But large parts of that of system deserve our thanks and heart-felt appreciation.

  4. Aileen Dodge    

    What really bothers the hell out of me with the Government VA is that when we signed on for active duty and gave our time. we all signed a contract with the Government. When we were discharged with an honorable discharge we fulfilled our end of the contract. Then we turn to the VA and ask that they uphold their end of this legally binding contract and it’s like oh I’m sorry we just don’t feel like we have to honor that contract. After all, we are the Government so our answer to you is how about you go pound sand. If any other big company were to attempt to violate the number of contracts that the VA has and does there would be hell to raise. That company would find itself before a court in no time and ordered to honor every one of those contracts ASAP. But even when the VA has been ordered to do that they don’t. And let me tell you. If you have to deal with the VA and you start to deal with them. If you do NOT suffer from any form of PTSD! DO NOT WORRY the VA will make sure that you do by the time you are finished dealing with them. They know exactly how to cause it. They make Veterans feel even more worthless than when the veteran begins an APPEAL fight!!! All this talking about reducing the percentage of Suicidal Ideation and actual Suicide of Veterans. Maybe they should look at why a greater percentage of Veterans who did not feel this way and suddenly do after they have been dealing with the VA for 6 months or longer!!! I personally believe that is a super big HINT!!!! Especially when it occurs in a Veteran who is frustrated for several months when dealing with the medical side of the VA and not one single individual working in the medical field that has had contact with the Veteran even once attempts to acknowledge this continual frustration of just trying to get what they have been promised!!! Well, the Hippocratic oath states DO NO HARM! And I have to ask, just how many of those who have taken this oath and work for the VA medical remember this on a daily basis!!!! Because the people in the medical field I have dealt with at the VA medical center I go to don’t even know what proper MEDICAL ETHICS are Never mind the Hippocratic oath which states to do no harm!!!!
    And it seems to me that the Mission Care Act is just another way the VA has found to increase the Mortality Percentage rate of Veterans! Thereby decreasing the number of claims the Government is paying on.

  5. Mark Klouda    

    Alicia,
    I can tell you from experience get it done before the 2 year mark or they have an excuse not to pay it that I never could get any satisfaction. Yes, I did the credit collection thing. Only, at the time I wasn’t monitoring my credit report and that is why I didn’t even know it wasn’t paid until two years had passed. I forget the exact law or wording but basically it was no reimbursement is allow after 2 years and there is nothing that can be done.

  6. Scott Crosby    

    I’m a 60 yr old navy veteran who just had his 5 major back surgery and your new and improved system just lost my claim because the dates were too close together. Bravo!!!! Keep up the “innovative” good work.

  7. Reginald Taylor    

    After reading all the comments ahead of mine I don’t have anything to say, why say it and no one is listening. But what I am going to say is you will have to answer for what you all are doing. Don’t abuse us,we are the reason you have a Job because we fought for your country as well if you wouldn’t have poisoned us you would need to worry about paying us. It is not you money it is the money we fought for.

  8. Markus Alfred    

    I’m a Airforce security police officers shot a lot guns most of my time and now when I tried to apply for tinnitus I have been denied 4 times on my claim. It has took a toll on my family and life with this constant pain it’s sad that the va doing me this way as a honorable disabled veteran.

  9. Ronald Massio    

    My Mental Health Provider retired . I’ve been unable to get reestablished with another VA provider so I’ve been placed in the Community Care program (aka) the hold file where you wait to be contacted
    Who in my case states is unable to contact me. How do I get past this road block and get assigned a Provider who treats Veterans with Combat Related PTSD (I’m rated at 100%)
    All I need is a Name Date Time and location email me text me send me a letter Ive been left multiple
    Voicemails Telling me they can’t get hold of me Sounds to me my phone is working How about set up a telephone appointment when some one can answer the phone when I call.
    I believe this is Just another way hide the real numbers of veterans waiting for care in the hope we older vets will just die off PROBLEM SOLVED

    1. Gertrude L Brown    

      Where are you located? Usually when I had to use Community Care Services I either contacted Tri Wes-VA insurance (855) 722-2838 (they connect you with the office based on your zip code) and/or contact my local VA office and asked for the Community Care Service Coordinator or the Patient Care Advocate. Which you can also teach through the secure massaging system if you have a myheathevet account. Best of luck to you!

  10. Cheryl Ann Morris-Gray    

    I totally understand everyone of y’all’s responses to the VA. However, one must realize that the VA is our government’s largest user of our taxpayers’ dollars. Secondly, since the Department of Veteran Affairs is a federal cabinet entity, there is loads of bureaucracy associated along with the entire system itself. Every aspect of the VA has a SOP, Policy and Regulations attached to its reception. Hence, it’s understandable that there’s going to be some ragging about the stuff they do to and for us. But it’s all some of us have. I for one am grateful for the federal government and for the Department of Veteran Affairs! Each state and area of this country has a VA facility but some are better than others. Just speak your mind and let them know that you are not going to have any more problems with them and what you expect. Then contact your Senator or Representative from your state. Ask them for help with your issues with the VA. If all else fails, then contact the President of the United States. Write to them and they have to respond to your letters.

  11. Alicia Chappell    

    The VA is refusing to pay an ambulance bill that I acquired a year ago. It was a non VA ambulance service. I didn’t let the VA know about it within the timeframe you are supposed to. The reason why is no. 1) I didn’t know I was supposed to. no. 2) I was sick .
    I wasn’t able to get a doctor’s appointment till a couple of weeks later and that’s when I told my psychiatrist about it. He submitted it but informed me that it would probably not be paid.
    So when I got the ambulance bill I sent it back to them and said I was a veteran. Well it never got paid I got a denial letter from the VA . The ambulance service sent the bill to collections. It got put on my credit report. My score went down 80 points. I was devistated…I worked so hard to get my score up because I was going to refinance my home. It is in bad need of repairs because Sally did extensive flood damage to my home. I don’t have flood insurance…i wanted the best rate possible when I do refinance

    A veterans last worry should be a hospital bill or ambulance bill. Especially one that’s 100% service connected disabled…we gave our best to our country and we deserve the best treatment….I’ve had and do have great doctors at the VA. I just don’t understand a lot of the things the veterans administration does and WHY? Why they will pay this and won’t pay that. I’m gonna try to work in maybe resubmitting this ambulance bill. I really don’t know how to do it or if I’ll even be capable of doing it….even if I do get them to pay it can I get this off my credit report??????

  12. Gregory Betts    

    Why is it taking the va over 30 days to deliver meds.I call and still got the run around.

    1. Allen Podet    

      Sorry for all who endured bad experiences! I have found the VA personnel to be unfailingly helpful and competent and happy to go the extra mile for our vets despite overwork and inadequate supplies. They do a marvelous and heroic job for us and deserve our thanks and praise !

    2. Allen Podet    

      Sorry for all who endured bad experiences! I have found the VA personnel to be unfailingly helpful and competent and happy to go the extra mile for our vets despite overwork and inadequate supplies. They do a marvelous and heroic job for us and deserve our thanks and praise !

  13. Daniel Allred    

    I am a 100% service connections Ted disabled veteran.Since my discharge in 1969 from the Coast Guard,where I was assigned to Port Security in San Francisco,I have received all my health care through the V.A.For most of the time since then I have been a cheerleader for the V.A.healthcare system.That was untill I moved to Idaho in 1999 and started receiving care at the V.A.hospital in Salt Lake City,Utah.The care there would make third world healthcare look incredible.I’ve been treated for a minor heart condition for years.In 2001 I re dived a full cardiac review.I was told to keep taking my high blood pressure meds.That was it.Three weeks later,through the Communitu Care Program I went through the same heart evaluation at Portnuff Medical center ter in Pocatello.The discovered I had at least two blocked arteries,some how the V.A.missed this.Two weeks later I had triple bypass surgery at this hospital.I was told had I stayed with the V.A. I probably would have died during this time period.

  14. Richard William Lewis    

    THE VA IS THE MOST CORRUPT DISHONEST THIEVING UNCARING GROUP OF TOTAL LIARS ON PLANET EARTH.
    THIER ONLY CARE IS HOW MUCH MONEY THEY CAN STEAL FOR THEY ARE INCAPABLE OF DOING ANYTHING CORRECT.
    I SPENT 20 YEARS FAITHFUL SERVICE WITH NOT 1 BENEFIT!
    THEIR DEMONIC WAYS WILL SOON BE DELT WITH BY MY KING JESUS.
    IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE CHRISTIAN AND BE AT v.a. FOR YOU NEVER WORK JUST STEAL OUR MONEY.
    POND SCUM HAS MORE IMPORTANCE.
    THEY WILL MESS THIS UP TO.

  15. Steven Hon    

    The VA is truly awesome. They got me out of a wheelchair when I got into a motorcycle accident where the doctors said that I would never walk again!

  16. Jeri Batsford    

    I am a Veteran and I am ashamed I ever served.
    I cannot stand the VA. I hate you all so much I vomit.
    You all kill us and never blink an Eye. I hope you get back what you put out.
    I would rather live in a toilet than be near any of you lying murderers.
    You suck.

  17. James Contarino Sr    

    please just process the Vietnam Veterans claims as fast as you can. we are all passing away with out fair decisions.faster than the decisions and claim and appeals are finished.

  18. SW    

    Any chance you can get this system to fix travel pay benefits so it doesn’t take sixty days to reimburse veterans for their travel to appointments??? Your new and improved program is s—.

    1. Traci A Sasser    

      The VA owes me 2 travel visits, one for mid-November and one on 3 Dec. When I called, I was told they were behind. Well duh!

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