Defense

May 24, 2012

Improvements continue in joint DOD, VA program

by Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

Progress continues on a streamlined system to improve care for ill and injured service members and veterans, senior Defense Department and Veterans Affairs officials told Capitol Hill legislators May 23.

Jo Ann Rooney, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and John R. Gingrich, chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, made the comments in testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Expectations for what happens after a service member becomes ill or is injured have shifted fundamentally over the past 20 years, Rooney said.

In 2007, this shift, combined with public and congressional concern following accounts of inadequate conditions, resulted in the development of the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, or IDES, intended to be “a more service member-centric, seamless and transparent disability program,” she added.

The system was designed to streamline the transition of care of wounded, ill and injured service members from the DOD to the VA, or, if they are found fit, to quickly return them to their units, Gingrich said.

“Service members receive a single set of physical disability examinations conducted according to VA examination protocols and disability ratings prepared by VA,” Rooney said. The DOD and the VA share the results and ratings, eliminating redundant requirements and divergent ratings for the same disability.

The singular focus on transition of care has shifted, however, and now includes improving and defining the abilities of service members as part of a commitment to making them whole and providing opportunities to remain in military service, Rooney said.

“More so than at any time in our nation’s history, those who separate from military service are greeted by more comprehensive mental and physical care, by greater opportunity for education and jobs and by a deeper societal commitment to ensuring their welfare,” she added.

Gingrich said two main problems have been found – access to information and reducing the movement of paper files. To that end, a series of enhancements to the VA’s electronic document handling systems will reduce overall processing time by improving work flow and performance management, he said.

The system has reduced the wait time for initial disability payments from an average of 240 days in 2007 to 50 days in March 2012, Rooney said.

In addition, the services are in the midst of ongoing hiring efforts to better manage the current caseload and in anticipation of future spikes in IDES participation, she said.

Gingrich said the existing caseload exceeds what was expected.

“As demand has increased we have adjusted to meet the service member’s needs,” he said. “In January 2012, VA completed 1,254 proposed disability ratings and in April 2012 VA completed 2,363 proposed disability ratings.”

“That is an 88 percent increase in monthly performance, which allowed for a reduction of more than 5,500 of the backlogged claims,” Gingrich added.

Rooney and Gingrich stressed their departments’ continuing commitment to the partnership and to supporting ill, injured and wounded service members.

“The [DOD] has positioned itself to implement improvements and continue progress in providing support to our service members, veterans, and their families while supporting recovery, rehabilitation and re-integration,” Rooney said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines October 20, 2014

News: Navy grounds ‘Top Guns’ - The F/A-18s needs spare parts and in too many cases they’re being taken from brand new jets. This is a risk to national security and pilots’ lives.   Business: Boeing seeks revised schedule for U.S. aerial tanker - Boeing is revising its master schedule for developing the new U.S. Air Force...
 
 

News Briefs October 20, 2014

New military medical team to help with Ebola in U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to prepare and train a 30-member medical support team that could provide short-term help to civilian health professionals if there are more Ebola cases in the United States. His spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says the team...
 
 

Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

The Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany. The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise...
 

 
Boeing photographs

Boeing-built X-37B successfully completes third flight

Unmanned spacecraft concludes record-setting 674-day mission   Boeing photograph A third mission of the Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle was completed on Oct. 17, 2014, when it landed and was recovered at Vandenberg...
 
 

Boeing concludes commercial crew space act agreement for CST-100/Atlas V

Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket. NASA in July approved the Critical Design Review Board milestone for Boeing’...
 
 

AF to release small business research solicitations

The Air Force Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program office is set to release its fiscal year 2015 list of topics Oct. 22, on the SBIR/STTR website.  Small businesses and research institutions with expertise to address the topics’ technology challenges are encouraged to submit proposals. During 2014, the Defense Department SBIR...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>