Last week, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America received a $250,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to create a digital database to track the gaps and wait times that U.S. veterans face in obtaining health care and other services, Forbes reports.
A report published in April by the Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of the Inspector General found that veterans faced lengthy wait times for health care appointments. The report also found that VA had understated the severity of the problem.
The database likely will offer a real-time map allowing users to select specific VA centers to check wait times for various services, such as disability claims processing and mental health care appointments.
The database will rely on data provided by IAVA members, who can input and update their wait times. IAVA hopes to launch the database by the end of the year.
Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of IAVA, said the database is "about transparency and accountability." He added, "Veterans are waiting too long to get even the most basic exams and services."
In the future, IAVA hopes to expand the database to offer real-time estimates on various topics, such as veterans' employment figures and health trends.
Rieckhoff said, "We can use [the database] to stay ahead of these issues, instead of calling foul after something major goes wrong" (Drummond, Forbes, 6/27).