Friday, April 12, 2024
HomemilitaryVeterans plagued by errors in health benefit system due to computer mishap

Veterans plagued by errors in health benefit system due to computer mishap

An automated Veterans Affairs system meant to help accelerate claims decisions actually helped contribute to inaccurate ratings on 27% of high blood pressure claims.

A VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report published last week found that more than a quarter of the 60 reviewed high blood pressure claims that were handled by the Automated Benefits Delivery System resulted in wrongful claims decisions for veterans, according to a report from Military.com.

The system was introduced in December 2021, ahead of what the VA believed was going to be a “flood” of disability applications as a result of the PACT Act, with Vietnam-era veterans filing high blood pressure claims under the act after their exposure to Agent Orange, an exposure linked to hypertension.

“At the time of the review, OIG was reviewing cases in the very early stages of the verify phase. Completion of prototyping and a pilot phase had not yet been complete, and technology was still being developed and enhanced,” the VA said in the response.

Reached for comment by Fox News Digital, VA Press Secretary Terrence Hayes said that the VA “has begun using automation in limited cases to help process their claims” in an effort to “ensure that Veterans get the benefits they deserve as quickly as possible.”

“”The claims reviewed by OIG were completed during the prototype stage of this new ability, before it was fully operational. Since then, VA has dramatically improved the automation process,” Hayes said.

Some of those improvements have included creating a repeatable process that will ensure “quality and effectiveness on a small scale before expanding to nationwide deployment,” Hayes said, while the VA has also installed a “dedicated quality review process” that will utilize independent reviewers. Hayes also noted that the VA has worked with tech industry leaders to gain insight intro improving the process and created a new dashboard to more closely follow trends.

“”On average, Veterans receive an initial decision approximately 20 days faster with automation,” Hayes said, adding that the VA “will continue modernizing and expanding its business processes and technology, as well as continue improving communications with Veterans, family members, caregivers, and survivors.”

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