What can be done to reverse VA’s backlog of undecided claims?

 

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llschaeffer

March 28, 2013 - 2:10pm

Why not utilize the Department VSO and County VSO more in the process for approvals. They most likely are already helping the person do the paperwork.

USMCTacarroll

March 28, 2013 - 2:29pm

Incorporate VA into the DoD discharge process. Since the Veteran is being released medically, the Veteran should automatically be enrolled in VA and receive benefits at an amount agreeable by DoD and VA standards. Since Standards and circumstances for increases can differ from those for an initial rating, have a separate claims process for Veterans applying for increases or a re-evaluation.

SeabeeVetNMCB62

March 28, 2013 - 2:59pm

To reduce the backlog, VA needs to do the following:

1. Eliminate all bonuses and work-credits, across-the-board. VA employees make decent salaries already and have solid retirement packages. If that isn't good enough, they should go work in the private sector. People who work for VA should be primarily motivated by their desire to help veterans, not by bonuses. The salaries that some senior VA officials is embarrassing, given the current state of operational and administrative deficiencies.

2. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki isn't the bad guy, but he needs to clean house. Under-performing regional directors and staff need to be fired. If that may cause too much ire and gnashing of teeth among the ranks and union reps, then demote those entrenched bureaucrats and give them far lesser responsibilities. Turn those incompetent GS-15s and higher into incompetent GS-9s or lower. If they don't like the salary cuts, they can look for jobs in the private sector.

3. Do the single electronic health record system yesterday. Don't blame the previous administration, don't tout one system over the other, and don't cancel programs because a deadline might not be met. Put DoD and VBA into a large room and lock the door. When they send up a white plume of smoke, then let them out and get to work. The Shinseki-Panetta pact hasn't worked out. President Obama needs to DIRECT the two agencies to solve the problem as a Manhattan-like project and save millions of trees.

4. Follow The American Legion's advice. It submitted three specific, reasonable recommendations to Congress on March 20. The White House should direct VA to follow those recommendations asap. Other VSOs make a lot of noise about forming presidential commissions, putting some veterans ahead of others in the claims application process, blah, blah, blah. Some of these critics would know a disability claims file if it smacked them in the face.

5. Provide more medical training to VA claims adjudicators. Veterans are served very poorly by VA employees who don' t know that "extremities" means hands and feet. Yes, that really happened in one case and caused unneeded delay in getting earned benefits to a veteran.

Come on, VA! Heed the call. Melt away the bureaucratic inertia and start up a lean-and-mean veteran-serving machine!

USAFSTEVE

March 28, 2013 - 9:59pm

All your points have been made before, shoved aside as financially unfeasible, and the status quo lives on. Vets fought once before for the rights of others, but lost the will to fight for themselves. What have we done to ourselves?

airdalevet

March 28, 2013 - 2:59pm

Using VSO's is a great idea but the problem has been ongoing for too long. Termination of VA exec's it the only way to shake up the enthroned executive team. They are the one's who demand the back log of claims. I heard once upon a time the VA mantra was the benefit of doubt goes to the veteran. VA's new mantra is the veteran is lying until he can prove his claim is true. Approve all claims and audit later. What's worse than being in a foreign country being shot at by the enemy? Being at home being shot at by your so called friends.

Chip

March 28, 2013 - 3:33pm

USMC Tacarroll's comment above nailed it - "Incorporate VA into the DoD discharge process. Since the Veteran is being released medically, the Veteran should automatically be enrolled in VA and receive benefits at an amount agreeable by DoD and VA standards."

bigbusbutch

March 28, 2013 - 3:36pm

there are too many old "good old boy" in the VA system now!! many VETS need to be taken care of NOW !!! if they cant handle the load then out sourse the needs of Vets.. cant afford it then quit taken golf trip to Fla. to Play gold with WOODS

kenfusmc

March 28, 2013 - 4:45pm

Stop sending claims to some VA "doctor" in Texas or Virginia for review and determination for a veteran in Florida or Wash. state. Keep It Simple Stupid. Local "doctor" can see/speak with veteran claimant if necessary, instead of one a thousand miles away reading an impersonal claim form typed by some over-worked and disinterested GS7 in a tiny office in St. Pete Dist. VA Office. Paperwork is just that - paperwork, not a human, breathing, bleeding veteran. Local, Duh!

subvet

March 28, 2013 - 7:16pm

Fire all personel that are not ex military and put the vets to work on the claims. I bet the back log would be cleared up in no time. When I have been to a VA office I see a lot of people BS'ing and not working. Let the vets work for the same pay that they got in the military with advancement the same.

SavageII

March 28, 2013 - 8:51pm

I would like to recommend a web site review for those who truly want to know how to approach this broken system. Send me an e-mail as subject"seniorvsr" and I will contact you, since I can't put the site on this posting. Read it all very closely. It is coming from an expert veteran who does battle with the monster every day. I also do that battle and stand very fast on an urgent need to have Congress select an outside the good ol boy system operation, possibly the Government Accounting Office do a qualified time and motion study on the broken system. Immediate action would be to stop the production points and quality system that feeds the monster every day. Not having adequate time to process a claim combined with an outrageous volume of mandates and rule changes as well as interpretations is chocking the broken system to death. You might want to do a little homework on the VBMAP, Veterans Benefit Management System to get a peek at reality. God bless my fellow veterans, we shall need it dearly!

jameswilks

March 28, 2013 - 9:50pm

Establish local boards composed of veterans. Local boards cover an area of 3-4 counties with reps from different areas. Eliminate a lot of the trivial regulations and rules and allow flexability by the RSVO. Put a time limit on claim waits and stick to it, if time is passed the claim is auto awarded. It can be audited at later date. Quick look at claims and if looks valid, offer quick settlement eg 20-30%. C&P Exams by non-contract company as is at present (FEE BASIS)

Feagles

March 29, 2013 - 2:03am

Over 50% voted for overhaul the system and make it less complicated. My first thought was "Do they have any idea how long that would take? Vets need help NOW." Then I paused and heard what that message was. The current system is unusable, confusing, unresponsive and unapproachable. Personally, I went without help for almost 50 years because of misinformation. SO, What can be done quickly? Every honorably discharged veteran should be automatically enrolled with the VA. That would have saved me 48 years and then 9 months after application before I showed up angry enough to ask what the hell was going on and was told to go up to St Petersburg Regional Office and present myself to the ER to get things rolling. Also, make the decisions local. If the doc the Vet sees after discharge thinks yes to a request- believe it. Audit and appeal can follow. That will dramatically reduce the amount of stuff being shuffled to the bottom of the stack and some of the backlog can be addressed locally. I hope this will buy us enough breathing space to meet the promise that we have made to our Vets and look closely at an effective overhaul.
On a personal note, I'm in my 70's and while it's financially difficult, I've opted to use personal medical insurance for as long as I can to reduce the load on the VA and make it available for those with grater need and less resources. I'm not being a 'hero'. I'm just trying to be a brother in arms. I got through some how, but I understand the hopelessness that's part of why our brothers and sisters are ending their lives.

daveb48195

March 29, 2013 - 8:56am

One: Just stop sending our citizens off to fight the wars of other countries and business interest. Or Two: get those countries and businesses to pay for the full cost of war. I like the first choice but even option two would help those who need help now. Perhaps if they have to pay for it they will think twice before sending us off.

GNChizewsky

March 29, 2013 - 11:36am

I would've thought that since the VA hasn't updated their procedures since WWI/WWII, you would've thought that they would based on the nature of New Technology. But then that's forward thinking and they, VA, won't do that. Too much effort on their part. Yes, I am a disgruntled Veteran of the Cold WAR, but the system is broken and needs to be updated to the more modern issues facing veterans, not based on years gone by. Maybe they should hire more "EXPERIENCED" people to cut down on the "wait time" for evaluations or even the re-evaluations.

WmJPetersen

March 29, 2013 - 12:48pm

I also think the idea of having the Dod and Va health records should be combined. The new medical history of the civiliam world will soon be available to any of your doctors no matter where you get care and that helps when you more or are injuried away from home. This also would give more proof of dated of injury and service.

BadDab

March 29, 2013 - 1:27pm

I am a wounded Vietnam Veteran and I am currently rated at 80%. I filed an updated claim 08/30/2011 that is currently not resolved by the VA. Projected dates for closure is 04/2013 - 11/2013? Really?
Lets start by taking the new Veterans (Iraq/Afganstan) who have obvious injuries such as a missing leg, missing arm, blind or a multitude/combination of these injuries and pay them from day one when they leave the military rehab facilities as Disabled Veterans on the same day for their known obvious injuries per the VA's disability standard. No lengthly claims/filing processes. Their condition is obvious PAY NOW. If there are less obvious issues with these Veterans then start the "Claim" process on day one. Why would the VA want to make these wounded Veterans wait until the "entire claim" is processed before these individuals have some income to begin the rest of their life?
Now using that as a starting criteria, process all other claims in the order in which they received. I believe that economics would call that FIFO (first in/first out). Do not get me wrong some (bare minimum) exceptions will have to be made.
But back to my particular situation I am now 19 months into a complex claim that must keep moving to the bottom of the pile because the VA has not figured out how to do the hard stuff so lets just keep it buried.
The VA response keeps saying we have received new information that must be evaluated. I am 65 years old and served my Country as a combat officer 44 years ago. I spent nearly six months in the hospital from my injuries and in those six months rehab, with the exception of learning to walk again, was non-existent. With that being said everytime I am seen by the VA and or a private physician new evidence is being generated. That cannot be stopped. There is enough evendence in my VA Claim record right now to
come to some resolution.
Finally, I have been a member of the American Legion for 45 continous years and the American Legion currently has been authorized power of attorney for me to act on my behalf on this claim. To this point, other that receiving a letter from the American Legion that it has noted this power of attorney the American Legion sadly has done nothing on my part to help me resolve this claim.

budfurd

March 31, 2013 - 1:57pm

Many of the comments I have read are very 'Right On'. The guy at the top seems to be out to ruin the US rather than help all of us and get things going again. Even the flag is no longer presented from the CinC. It is presented at funerals as, Greatly Appreciated, from the SECDEF. Check it out.

1, Benefits have been denied when should have been approved!

2, When I fell I had to be taken to a Civilian facility and not VA. The VA hosp in Denver would not accept any ambulances at the facility. ......... I had all my bills in the next month after my release from rehab, and mailed them to the VA at the place in Montana as instructed. A month later, I get a letter, that I was not Timely in getting bills to VA and 2 I had other insurance, Part B of medicare, which I did not have. First time I found this out.

3, I get so frustrated getting all sorts of denial letters from the Va. The process is way to complicated and compartmentized.

I say we should shake the whole VA up and kick out 25% of the very top executives and stop all the bonuses.

budfurd

March 31, 2013 - 2:51pm

by the way, on my last post(budfurd), In my text, #@, I said I had problems with VA RE: a claim when I was taken to a Civilivan Hosp ER, for a Fall I had in My APPT. I had many talks with the VA trying to get it straigened out and met with some rudeness from VA people. It never did get fixed and I went from 760 of my Sredit score to 605. Thanks for nothing VA. It still is not fixed and attorney's will not help with a beef with the Gov.This was 3 years ago. Nice HUH?????

Bill Van

April 1, 2013 - 3:11pm

Advice for VETS
1. Before you get out, make sure you visit all the medical offices. INCLUDING MENTAL HEALTH. This is the time you need to discuss your STRESS ISSUES DUE TO COMBAT! Do this before you even sign off on any exit medical packet. This is one area VETS get messed over. If the claim is not in your ORIGIONAL file when you seek VA comp. Proving it will be hard. OH YEA. for all you new guys in the system. You have up to a year to seek help for "Medical Conditions" experienced during your service. Use you first year out wisely, Take care of those VA issue first.

2. Claim every first time medical event no matter how trivial. If the event rates a 0 "ZERO" that's a rating. If there are complications later, you can always re-file.

3. Get the backing from the American Legion, DAV, VFW or State Veteran Organization. Do not go through the process alone. You will miss a step and that could cost time.

4. Make all your VA appointments. Under no circumstances miss an appointment. If you need to reschedule it may take months to get you back in the loop.

5. Be prepared to wait, wait, wait and wait some more.

6. Check in often with your American Legion, VA, DAV, VFW, rep. helping you with your case. DO NOT CALL THE VA. The person you get will just transfer you to some other person who will just put you on hold or transfer you to a recording. Ask your Rep to assist, they may know exactly who to call.

7. Wait, Wait, and wait some more. At this point +-1 year, do not get angry and start calling people. And if you do and can talk to someone BE NICE. AGAIN REQUEST HELP FROM YOU VET rep.

8. When you finally get you decision pack. If you disagree with the decision, re-file. DO NOT WAIT, DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT A THOUSAND DOLLARS. Find your VET REP and re-file.

9. Then wait, wait, wait and wait some more.

10. OK, the whole process took me 4 years. but I have finally received an acceptable rating.

THANKS TO THE American LEGION

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