VA Takes Significant Steps On Benefits Backlog, Digitization

Jennifer Bresnick | EHR Intelligence | December 11, 2013

The Department of Veterans Affair’s hard work to turn around one of its biggest PR problems is starting to pay off as busy staff members are finally making a significant dent in the enormous backlog of disability benefits claims for veterans.  At a hearing in front of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey was able to boast a 36% reduction in the number of pending claims, with nearly all cases older than a year effectively eliminated.

The benefits queue is one of several projects being modernized by the VA over the next few years as the system attempts to move away from paper and digitize all its records.  The slow process of scanning millions of pages of health records is underway, with Hickey noting that 360 million images of claims documents have been generated so far.  The digitization process will be aided by the fact that a web-based electronic claims processing solution has been successfully deployed to all VA facilities several months ahead of schedule.