A principle of Open Government is that workers can build solutions to real problems and get the attention of top management.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been doing a lot of this recently, providing better customer service for Vets, and providing better return for the taxpayer dollar.

We have a new example of that, where a VA employee, Renford Patch, wrote some software which helps determine if a Vet has hearing loss, how much loss, and feeds that into the claims process. It greatly simplifies and accelerates what was a complicated paper process.

This kind of thing is fairly novel in Washington, but we’re seeing it starting to happen a lot there, particularly in those areas which have embraced Open Government. I’ll try to surface more examples of this.

For more information regarding this example, check out a VA employee-developed hearing loss calculator that has 100 percent accuracy.

Craig Newmark is the founder of Craigslist.  

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Published on Jan. 23, 2011

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  1. Brenda Hayes January 24, 2011 at 3:54 pm


    Thanks for being supportive of our Veterans; and subsequently, for the needed systemic changes that the VA must make.

    I was wondering…why are you involved? Are you a Veteran? Family member?

    Is there anyway you might be able to help the VP team to improve this site as far as its structure?

    For instance; there should be a place (another area) if people have suggestions that might make much needed improvements. That way; Veterans and family members who are trying to support the New Wave of the VA might believe someone is seeing these suggestions by either making comments of why or why it would not work; thanks; will check into it and get back (with timeline); it would be a strategic place that the suggestions would not be missed amid 325 + comments.

    Also, if someone makes a comment the site would then notify the sender that there was a response. A lot of Vet support organizations have a different format that works similiar to what I have suggested. http://www.veteransbenefits@ezboard.com; VAWATCHDOGTODAY.org; hadit.com, etc.

    Thanks again for your interest and support and I look forward to more input from you; and, Congrats on your great site. Is there a possibility of putting up a Veteran’s needs/support column; Veteran Jobs Wanted; Transitional Housing, etc?.

    Brenda Hayes
    Vetwife Advocate

  2. FJ January 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Craig Newmark — a big supporter of Veterans.

    As for this device – probably better than the old Benny Hill WWII sketch, where a pistol is fired next to a draftee – if they flinch, their hearing is OK, and it’s on to the Russian Front.

  3. John Izzo January 23, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Government employees ate cast in such a negative light. This info is good to see. Good ideas often only require someone to listen

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