In February, VA’s Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) completed a key milestone, electronically processing its 5-millionth claim. It’s a major feat considering how far the agency has greatly advanced its electronic claims processing capabilities in the last five years.
Gone are the days of VBA cubicles engulfed in paper claims. Today, VBA processes nearly 100 percent of disability compensation claims electronically through VBMS. The system allows claims processors and power of attorney designees, nationwide, the ability to instantly review close to 3 billion images related to Veterans claims.
“We use VBMS to manage $60 billion in benefits a year, and it has enabled us to transform the claims process,” said Brad Houston, director of the Office of Business Process Integration, which oversees the program.
Where we’ve come from
In 2010, VBMS started as a pilot program at the VA Providence Regional Office. It marked the beginning of the Veterans Benefits Administration’s commitment to modernizing its claims processing system. VBMS was pilot-tested at select regional offices between 2010 and 2012, with improvements and greater functionality added to system software releases throughout the testing period. In pilot programs, the then-new system cut the time to process claims nearly in half. By 2013, all 56 VBA regional offices were processing claims electronically through VBMS–six months ahead of schedule.
More work to be done…
In the near future, VBA plans to expand its electronic claims processing capabilities to include automation and digital VA appeal processing, which will eliminate hundreds of thousands of square feet in office-space rent.
“I think Congress made a good investment,” Houston said.
VBMS is one of the many ways VA is striving to be a world-class service provider—establishing a framework for modernizing VA’s culture, processes, and capabilities to put the needs, expectations and interests of Veterans and their families first.