VA sets performance, VLER goals in strategic plan

Veterans Affairs Department identifies 13 high-priority initiatives it wants to meet by 2014

The Veterans Affairs Department aims to become more integrated and performance-driven by fulfilling 13 high-priority goals during the next four years, according to a new strategic plan.

The just-released VA Strategic Plan 2010-2014 describes 13 major goals, including automating disability and GI Bill claims and benefits processing and developing the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER). VLER is a joint effort with the Defense Department to create a seamless record for each service member from enlistment through retirement.

The plan also describes a goal of deploying a Veterans Relationship Management Program across all VA phone centers and Web sites to make the full range of VA services and benefits available by phone and Web site by June 2011.

By 2012, VA expects to implement a Web-based time and attendance system to better assess and track labor costs related to health care and benefits delivery, the plan states.

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With regard to health care, the plan outlines a goal of building a more patient-centered care model, expanding telehealth services and improving infrastructure, including leveraging its electronic health record system.

However, the report does not specifically address details about an anticipated modernization of the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture electronic health record system.

The VA’s plan includes seven additional strategic goals and objectives and 34 supporting initiatives. The plan will be updated in April 2011.

The plan provides details on how the VLER has been conceived and is being developed, including a goal of rolling out the health components of the VLER nationally by 2012. The VA and DOD are working to exchange information over the Health and Human Services Department’s Nationwide Health Information Network.

“The ultimate goal is for a substantial exchange of health information that will enable the entire military treatment record to be delivered over the Nationwide Health Information Network to VA,” the plan said. “It is at this point that health information can be seamlessly delivered for disability determinations.”

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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