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.

Modernization efforts

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.
  • Supply chain modernization ensure VA staff have equipment and supplies where and when needed to help Veterans.
  • 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.

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Published on Jan. 30, 2020

Estimated reading time is 2.6 min.

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  1. Keith Coppock February 29, 2020 at 9:39 am

    I need help I have moved from lasvegas NV to Washington for health care biggest mistake I ever made the helthcare in LV was absolutely top-notchnow I have to drive 100 miles to even get you a clinic that doesn’t even have a doctor on call ever the doctor is in Idaho and this doctor cuz she has to take me off all of my psych meds take me off my pain meds gives me aspirin and tells me to get out and then when I go to pick up the aspirin at the pharmacy the order was never put in although I had the prescription this is a f****** living hell I need some help I need an advocate I need something if anybody reads this I’m an army airborne veteran and I need help

  2. Joseph C Garcia February 8, 2020 at 10:00 am

    I’ve been waiting for my disability ratings to be upgraded for years . the VA has IGNORED ME for 35 years.

  3. Lloyd Santee February 6, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    I’m definitely liking what I’ve seen especially “Myhealthvet.”

  4. jimmy cole February 6, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    Having had no success in the use of the VA Healthcare –

    I have a recurring recommendation, from many veterans, all branches

    1. Close down all VA Medical Centers
    2. Issue Disable Vets an insurance card
    3. Just pay the real doctors for real help

    My MBBS at Okc is a shame to even claim he gives care –

    now that my death is imminent – the past 6 years I begged for help when I still had time was for naught

    it has left a sour taste

    and now I can’t get that wasted time back – very cruel way to treat a veteran


  5. Akicita Mani February 6, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Use email with patients in accordance with HHS guidelines.…/does-hipaa-permit…/index.html

    Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule permit health care providers to use e-mail to discuss health issues and treatment with their patients?

    Yes. The Privacy Rule allows covered health care providers to communicate electronically, such as through e-mail, with their patients, provided they apply reasonable safeguards when doing so. See 45 C.F.R. § 164.530(c). For example, certain precautions may need to be taken when using e-mail to avoid unintentional disclosures, such as checking the e-mail address for accuracy before sending, or sending an e-mail alert to the patient for address confirmation prior to sending the message. Further, while the Privacy Rule does not prohibit the use of unencrypted e-mail for treatment-related communications between health care providers and patients, other safeguards should be applied to reasonably protect privacy, such as limiting the amount or type of information disclosed through the unencrypted e-mail. In addition, covered entities will want to ensure that any transmission of electronic protected health information is in compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule requirements at 45 C.F.R. Part 164, Subpart C.

    Note that an individual has the right under the Privacy Rule to request and have a covered health care provider communicate with him or her by alternative means or at alternative locations, if reasonable. See 45 C.F.R. § 164.522(b). For example, a health care provider should accommodate an individual’s request to receive appointment reminders via e-mail, rather than on a postcard, if e-mail is a reasonable, alternative means for that provider to communicate with the patient. By the same token, however, if the use of unencrypted e-mail is unacceptable to a patient who requests confidential communications, other means of communicating with the patient, such as by more secure electronic methods, or by mail or telephone, should be offered and accommodated.

    Patients may initiate communications with a provider using e-mail. If this situation occurs, the health care provider can assume (unless the patient has explicitly stated otherwise) that e-mail communications are acceptable to the individual. If the provider feels the patient may not be aware of the possible risks of using unencrypted e-mail, or has concerns about potential liability, the provider can alert the patient of those risks, and let the patient decide whether to continue e-mail communications.

    Created 12/15/08

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