STEPHEN W. WARREN
PRINCIPAL DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
HOUSE VETERANS' AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON DISABILITY ASSISTANCE AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 29, 2008
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to testify today, on the use of information technology to enhance claims processing, within the Department of Veterans Affairs ( VA), as well as utilizing data from the Veterans Health Information Technology and Architecture ( VistA), to assist in the processing of disability claims. These are very important issues that affect the life of every veteran and their just compensation for disabling injuries, received while serving our Country.
I would like to begin by addressing VA's efforts at leveraging information technology to improve the timely delivery of veterans' benefits. The Office of Information and Technology (OI&T) has been collaborating with the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), in the development of a comprehensive strategy to enable the achievement of their target business model. The operational concept of the Paperless Delivery of Veterans' Benefits initiative is to employ enhanced technology platforms to include imaging, computable data, electronic workflow capabilities, and enterprise content and correspondence management services. The initiative will integrate with VBA's core business application and modernized payment system, the Veterans Service Network (VETSNET).
OI&T also supports VBA's market research of business rules engine software, and other decision support technologies, which can be leveraged to support improved and expedited decision making, by claims processing personnel. OI&T recently released a Request for Information ( RFI) from industry. The RFI resulted in the demonstration of technologies that may help support VBA's business strategy. The RFI process helps VA gain a better understanding of how private industry and other government agencies employ these technologies to support their business models. OI&T has also conducted analyses of technical architectures, business applications, and Commercial-Off-The-Shelf ( COTS) products, utilized to support the business processes of the Social Security Administration ( SSA), as well as the Veterans Affairs organizations of Australia and Canada.
A Statement of Work is currently being prepared to engage the services of a Lead Systems Integration Contractor. The purpose of this contract is to assist VBA with the development of an overarching strategy and business requirements for the Paperless Delivery of Veterans' Benefits initiative. These key deliverables will enable OI&T to begin specifying the supporting technical architecture and business application.
Mr. Chairman, I would now like to highlight how the utilization of data from the Veterans Health Information Technology and Architecture ( VistA) assists in the processing of disability claims. The business application used by VBA, to navigate and retrieve clinical data within VistA, is called the Compensation and Pension Record Interchange ( CAPRI). Online access to medical data, housed in VHA's VistA, supports the disability benefits determination.
CAPRI also provides access to some DoD medical records, through integration with the Federal Health Information Exchange framework. CAPRI was nationally deployed during Fiscal Year 2001, and delivers cutting edge "point and click" technology to the users' desktop. Since its deployment, the application has been repeatedly enhanced, as new categories of clinical data in VHA and DoD became available.
Mr. Chairman, In closing I want to assure you that we remain steadfast in our efforts, to continuously optimize any and all information technology improvements, as we strive to improve our veterans' benefits IT environment. Our goal is that these efforts, coupled with the support of VBA and our partners in the private sector, will greatly improve the business processes, which will significantly enhance the disability claims process for our Nation's heroes. Thank you for your time and the opportunity to address these issues. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.