VA continues enrollment system analysis to seek improved data


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On August 17, 2014, I blogged in response to media reports alleging the mishandling of VA enrollment applications. In the short time since my first blog, the staff at the Health Eligibility Center (HEC) in Atlanta, GA, has continued the important task of analyzing our Enrollment System to identify potential issues and to improve the delivery of this critical service to America’s Veterans.

Caring for our nation’s Veterans is the highest honor and privilege for the men and women who serve them at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our mission is to provide timely access to earned health care and benefits for millions of Veterans. That is a responsibility that we do not take lightly. It is important that we openly discuss how we intend to improve.

VA currently has 8.9 million enrolled Veterans. An analysis conducted on May 15, 2014, of 896,237 pending records (e.g., records that lacked either evidence of qualifying military service or lacked required income information) in the Enrollment System found that 216,736 records had an application date; an indicator that the Veteran applied for enrollment in VA’s health care system.  The HEC has continuously reviewed and analyzed Enrollment System pending records over the summer.  An analysis on August 18, 2014 found that the Enrollment System pending records population had decreased to 890,905, of which approximately 205,000 records had an application date.

Since mid-August, we conducted further research on pending records which did not have an application date to determine whether any other indicator an enrollment application existed. Toward that end, we conducted an additional study of a small sample of approximately 2,000 records which lacked an application date. In this small sample, we found that approximately 400 had a historical record with indicators that led us to conclude they constituted an application for enrollment.  The remaining records in the sample lack a clear indication whether these Veterans had applied.  This is an ongoing process of review that is not yet complete.

VA continues the efforts outlined in my August blog to contact those applicants identified as having a record in a pending status (irrespective of whether an application date is present). We have been reaching out to Veterans to let them know the additional information needed so that we may complete their application.  As of August 1, 2014, VA has contacted 225,041 Veterans by mail asking them to submit required documents to establish eligibility. To date, VA has received 24,594 responses and enrolled 16,692 Veterans, and outreach efforts are continuing. As we continue our work to contact Veterans, our focus remains on improving the enrollment system to better serve Veterans.

It is also again important to note that VA currently has no legal authority to move records from a pending status even after outreach has occurred and the Veteran has not provided financial information or military records needed to determine eligibility. There are situations in which a Veteran’s record transfers to our Enrollment System even though the Veteran did not apply for enrollment, for example, Veterans applying for State Home Benefits. This pending enrollment records population also includes records of Veterans who received care before the implementation of VA health care enrollment in 1998. Current regulatory guidelines prohibit us from removing these records, resulting in VA leaving them in a pending status.

We continuously share information on enrollment with Network Directors and our partners in the Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs).

At VA, it is our privilege to provide care and benefits to America’s Veterans. Those who have questions about their enrollment may call VA at 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or visit https://www.1010ez.med.va.gov to apply.

Author

Stephanie Mardon

Stephanie Mardon is the Acting Chief Business Officer for the Veterans Health Administration.

Comments

  1. Bradley Curry    

    I never used my VA medical benefits for 28 years. I was without a permanent resident because of marital problems and small annual income. I needed to use my VA medical benefits. I enrolled and was eligible for benefits. I was a suffering alcoholic and was without a home. I was admitted to rehab 7/11/2013 and by the grace of good I got sober. I was able to move into my wife’s home on 7/26/2013. My wife sold our previous residence and allowed me to return to the house. Because my wife made to much money in 2013, the VA says I am ineligible. I never seen a penny from the home sales. My whole paycheck goes to her for my living expenses. My wife does not give me a dime. Yet she made to much money for me to receive benefits. In the short couple of years I have never seen so much corruption in a medical organization. I never gave up on the military while doing 4 years active 2 years inactive . So why is the VA giving up on me?

  2. patrick jahnke    

    Please note my heath care hit rock bottom since march my doc retire, my pain meds stop cold, body fought daily for meds. I had 10 plus pain still do, seen 2 nurses, 2 doctors all said same thing. Try give meds I can’t take. Madison/tomah with clinics, back at iowa trying no luck help with pain seen and spoke to some head doctor. 2x she told me she can not Ccc me no more unless I stop the pain. It scar tissue nerve problem its their 24/7 narcotics drug did help, sorry can’t have them. I was on 30mg only took when pain hits. Know it 24/7 needles on pins what look out from area night time no sleep. Tens unit full power goes in scar tissue area I feel nothing. The doctors stop a veteran getting any narcotics drugs get a bonus and veteran has fight or give him or her antidepressant drug that make thing worse for veteran even death. So why are classified veteran drug user, and the real drug user get them. Were my 3 weeks vacation in Florida that may help me with my pain. Its true 3 week pain clinic in. Florida.

  3. Bryan Pullin    

    I want to comment on the clinic in New Braunfels, Texas. I have ask for an appointment for 6 months and they will tell me i have an appointment and then last minute cancel my appointment or i would go in and mess work. I go in they would let me sit there up to 1 to 2 hours then tell me i do not have an appointment and when i go in they tell me ok wait in the waiting room. I have seen like 4 to 5 different doctors there and keep testing me for drugs and if someone is poisin me all negitive, they do not listen to me.They mess up my records lieing in them i am going to put an complaint in and if they do not fix them i will ask Washiton to investigation. I been having very much problems, i one mental doctor saying i have PTSD and another saying I have Panic Attack disorder, but they do not put in my records. I tell what i am going throw and have wriiten statement from family and friends how i was before they military. I have mood swings , anxiety, irritablness, depression, lower back pressure and pain as well my neck, head, eyes, some times blurry vison, feel like throwing up. I do not trust any one work, the VA always lieing same as when i was in the military. Where i live do not trust manger, owner, neighbors lieing to people about me and my family to others. My house has 6 camers outside, 4 camers inside, you will not get into my house unless you brake the door down or break the windows. My windows are tintint you can see outside but no one can see inside. I am always wacthing everyone and my surrounds for fear of something bad will happen or someone will do something. This was like in the navy was always lie to and someone was always trying to get me into trouble. The VA gave me medicine for mental , but does not avaluate me and put in my records what mental disable condition i have and the medicine gave me more symtoms, my muscles spasms and tighten out of no where , I have pressure and pain in my head, neck, eyes, that couses blurry vision sometimes. I get sharp pain that goes down my legs in comes and goes. I have told this to the VA clinic in New Braunfels and they would not put in my records and lie adn say thing like i deney drug and alchol test and not true. I have taking test after test and came up negitive.

  4. Don Matthews    

    The VA couldn’t get it right if their job depended on it! MOST of the employees are STUPID, INSENSITIVE, SELF-CENTERED…. After nearly 40 years in the system “you’d think I’d have the decency die” and quite find all their faults. You’ thin they’d have the intelligence to hire more vets so confrontations with vets would cease and guys like me who would rather die than deal with them any more. To fix the VA’s problems you’d have to fire everyone and then rehire QUALIFIED individuals!!! Oh, what makes me you are any different that those dummies that have been ignoring me all these years and NOTHING gets done. With all ya’lls hot air, summers going to last through spring!!!

  5. milton schalizki    

    I tried several time to get a va card but I was turned and all I wanted was a card saying I was a vet .I could never make any one believe that I served in the military so no card .if there is a problem with the va then I will never try again for anything because I know I served my time and then I put 20 yrs in the police department. thank you Milton schalizki

  6. jerry mlynek    

    VA Clinic in Surprise, Az. My doctor’s team 2 does not return calls regarding medicine refills. ..i called 3 times and not once did I get a return call….please investigate. …thanks.

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