Providence to test VA's paperless system

The Department of Veterans Affairs has selected its regional benefits office in Providence, R.I., to test a paperless system and new procedures to improve processing of veterans' claims for disability compensation.

The pilot, which initially focuses on compensation benefits, is expected to start at the Providence facility in November, with completion in May 2011. Additional pilots are expected before the new claims system is deployed to all 57 VA regional benefits offices.

The Providence pilot is part of the Veterans Benefits Management System, one of more than three dozen initiatives in progress at VA to "break the back of the backlog." This first VBMS pilot comes after completion of the Virtual Regional Office project collocated at the Baltimore Regional Office in May 2010. VA brought claims processors from around the country to Baltimore this past spring to assist in the rapid prototyping of a demonstration system.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has set a goal that by 2015 VA will process all claims within 125 days with 98 percent accuracy.