Veteran improvements were the focus of a modernization fair held Jan. 29 at the VA Central Office in Washington, D.C.
The fair highlighted Veteran improvements to benefits, appeals, technology and experience, all aimed at improving VA’s efforts.
“Veterans are voting with their feet,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said. He pointed to an increase of nearly two million appointments in 2019 and a VFW study that showed 91 percent of Veterans would recommend VA health care to other Veterans. Wilkie said those changes show VA’s need to modernize.
VA employees educated people about ten different VA modernization efforts to help Veterans:
Appeals modernization gives Veterans choice, clarity and control in the appeals process. The new law modernizes the current compensation appeals process, giving Veterans three review options for disagreements with decisions.
Connected care provides digital health technologies that make accessing VA care simple for Veterans.
Digital transformation uses technology to improve user and customer information technology experiences. This helps VA provide the highest-quality care, benefits and services to Veterans.
Electronic health record modernization, or EHRM, establishes a common health record solution with the Department of Defense. This will help active duty members as they become Veterans. For all Veterans, this modernization will give VA clinicians quick and efficient access to a full health record.
Financial management business transformation increases the transparency, accuracy, timeliness and reliability of financial information, increasing opportunities to provide better Veteran service.
Under the GI Bill, The Colmery Act significantly improves education benefits for Veterans, service members, families and survivors.
Healthcare modernization helps Veterans by collaborating throughout VA, academia and industry to advance care delivery and service.
Patient Experience strives to improve Veterans’ experience by improving patient interactions from communications to physical environment.
Veterans Legacy Memorial is a secure, web-based platform housing a digital memorial for each of the 3.7 million Veterans interred in VA national cemeteries.
Focus on Veterans
One of the major changes is EHRM, which the director of infrastructure readiness said will transform Veteran health care.
“EHRM is a game changer for VA, for Veterans and for health care, across the board,” said Aziza Shukair. She said this EHRM will help Veterans because providers will have one, comprehensive record to help Veterans make health care decisions.
These modernization improvements focus on better Veteran care, said the Veterans Affairs chief of staff.
“As we’re transforming, we’re not doing it for the sake of change,” said Pamela Powers. “We’re doing it for the sake of our Veterans, and they really depend on us to get it right.”
This story is part of the Secretary’s Priorities series, which was outlined to the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Military Constructions, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies on Feb. 26, 2019, by VA Secretary Wilkie. The Secretary’s Priorities are Customer Service, MISSION Act, Electronic Health Record, Transforming Business Systems, and Suicide Prevention. These stories are designed to give a closer look at the improvements VA is making in how we relate to, interact with, and ultimately serve our Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors.
By Air Force Veteran Adam Stump is a member of VA's Digital Media Engagement team.