VA to test paperless claims processing system
Goal is to reduce backlog of 497,000 pending claims
- By Alice Lipowicz
- Aug 10, 2010
The Veterans Affairs Department will test its new paperless claims processing system starting in November at its regional benefits office in Providence, R.I.
The pilot project will operate from November until May 2011. Assuming the project and additional tests are successful, the system eventually will be deployed to all 57 regional benefits offices, according to an announcement dated Aug. 5.
The VA is currently developing a prototype of a paperless rapid claims processing system to deal with the current backlog of approximately 497,000 disability claims. The goal of the paperless system and related initiatives is to “break the back of the backlog,” the department said.
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VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has set a goal of having the department process all claims within 125 days with 98 percent accuracy by 2015.
The VA recently contracted with IBM Corp. to help automate part of the disability claims system to deal with an anticipated influx of Agent Orange claims later this year. IBM was awarded a $9.1 million contract to collaborate with VA developers to develop and implement the new claims processing system by November.
Disability claims are expected to surge later this year as a result of a new regulation implementing a presumption of service connection for three disabilities: B-cell leukemia associated with Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam, Parkinson’s disease, and ischaemic heart disease.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.