$500,000,000 VA Benefits Processing Software Program is DOA

Posted by Jason Van Steenwyk

New VA computer system DOAThe $500 million-plus software program that was supposed to eliminate the stubborn VA benefits backlog, the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), has been taken offline for “troubleshooting,” according to internal VA documents. 

VBMS is supposed to transform the VA benefits administration process by converting to a paperless system. It is the lynchpin of the VA’s efforts to meet Secretary Erik Shinseki’s goal of eliminating the backlog by 2015 and bringing the average waiting time for veterans to receive benefits down to 125 days. 

According to an internal document obtained by the website VAWatchdog.org, the system was causing VA claims processors to experience timeout errors and long latency periods. The errors sometimes even caused the system to boot processors from the system. The whole system has been taken offline. As of this writing, technicians could not provide an estimated time of resolution. 

VA workers have been instructed to go back to the old input system that contributed to the backlog in the first place.

A VA spokesperson minimized the problems with the system, saying occasional glitches were “to be expected” during a rollout of a computer software backbone like this one. As the Stars & Stripes reports, the two top technology officers at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Chief Technology Officer and the Chief Information Officer, resigned earlier this year. Their resignations came after members of Congress from both parties excoriated the VA last February for abandoning a planned integrated health record system that would coordinate health information between the VA and the DoD. Said Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), “Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), ranking member of the House committee, said: “This is a huge setback and completely unacceptable. For years we have been told by both agencies that progress was made and that things were on track.  I’m disappointed that our nation’s two largest government agencies – one of which is the world’s foremost developer of high-tech machines and cyber-systems – could not come together on something that would have been so beneficial to those that served. We have just witnessed hundreds of millions of dollars go down the drain.”

 


One response to “$500,000,000 VA Benefits Processing Software Program is DOA”

  1. Lute A says:

    This is no surprise. I work at a college and i am on the receiving end of the education office and its a mess as well. I remember in 2008 when the education office decided to keep the education process in house and not hire outside programmers and that’s only with education, i can only imagine the series of bad decisions that led to this point we are in now. 
    i have veterans waiting 90 days to get a copy of their DD214, i truly feel for those that are waiting for medical care for almost a year. 
     
    disappointed with this system.