The Department of Veterans Affairs is conducting a pilot project that aims to use health IT and a private contractor to accelerate claims decisions and the amount of time it takes to obtain medical records from private health care providers, Modern Healthcare reports (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 11/30).
VA currently takes an average of 40 days to obtain medical records required to process veterans' disability compensation claims. The pilot seeks to reduce this time to seven to 10 days (Merrill, Healthcare IT News, 11/30).
Pilot Project Details
For the pilot project -- called the VA Claims Transformation Plan -- the private contractor will collect medical records to support veterans' applications for benefits. The contractor then will convert the records to a digital format and securely transmit them to VA. The contractor has not yet been named.
The pilot is expected to involve about 60,000 records requests from regional benefits offices around the country. Following the completion of the pilot, VA officials will decide whether to cancel, modify or expand the program (Lewis, InformationWeek, 11/30).
The pilot project is among several VA initiatives seeking to transform the agency's claims processes (Healthcare IT News, 11/30). By 2015, the department aims to ensure that all claims decisions are 98% accurate and complete within 125 days (InformationWeek, 11/30).