On his first day in office, President Obama signed a memorandum to all Federal Agencies directing them to break down barriers to transparency, participation, and collaboration between the Federal Government and the people it serves. For more information on this presidential initiative visit White House Open Government Initiative.
The Open Government Directive mandated that Executive Departments and Agencies would create a plan to detail the specific actions it would take to become more transparent, to increase participation, and to be more collaborative. On April 7, 2010, after soliciting ideas from the public, we released our plan—and it's something we look forward to implementing. View VA's Open Government Plan.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) fulfills President Lincoln's promise to care for all Veterans and his or her family. As required by Executive Order 13571, Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service, VA developed this Customer Service Plan, which focuses on one technology-driven signature initiative that provides Veterans with their health information when they need it. This plan outlines steps to improve the service including projects to enhance the features and ways we plan on collecting customer feedback. Download the plan today: VA's Customer Service Plan.
VA is proud of the Open Government Plan we put together. We know it is only just the beginning. As such, we put together a self assessment to let you know how we plan to improve our plan. Please download it here.
Participation is one of the most important facets of an open government. We have collected your ideas for how VA can be more open. Our responses to these ideas provide updates and feedback on the top ten suggestions for creating a more transparent and open VA.
View VA's Open Government Plan: The Top 10 Ideas Received from the Public.
Flagship Initiative -- VA Innovation Initiative
We completed two rounds of employee competitions, inviting our colleagues to share their ideas to improve benefits claims processing and delivery of health care services for Veterans and their families. Over 50,000 VA employees contributed 10,000 ideas. We are busy implementing 35 of these ideas and are planning our next round of employee innovation competition.
In June, we launched the 2010 VAi2 Industry Competition. We asked our partners in industry and academia to address six VA challenges:
From June to September we received about 300 proposals and completed a thorough technical review by subject matter experts. We are beginning to announce the winning projects. Stay tuned for more announcements as the project designs are completed.
Check out the 2011 competition: http://www.va.gov/VAi2/OpenCompetitions.asp.
Recently, the White House announced new initiatives on regulatory reforms. These reforms relate to Executive Order 13563, "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review" which required agencies to submit preliminary plans to accomplish the goals of the executive order. Read VA's status report here.
Read VA's Plan for Periodic Review of Existing Regulations here.
In September 2010 we launched "Blue Button" capability that allows Veterans to download their personal health information from their My HealtheVet account. We developed Blue Button with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Defense, along with the Markle Foundation's Consumer Engagement Workgroup.
Since its launch, VA has 190,000 unique Blue Button users; our partners have had over tens of thousands additional users. Incredibly, several industry partners have already created applications for mobile devices or web-based platforms to enhance users' experience of Blue Button information. For more information on Blue Button, visit www.va.gov/bluebutton.
Agent Orange Fast Track Claims Processing System
On August 31, 2010 we published the regulation that makes Veterans who served in Vietnam and who have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, ischemic heart disease, or hairy-cell leukemia eligible for health care and disability compensation benefits. After the mandated Congressional review period, we started processing claims on October 30, 2010. We developed the first end-to-end electronic claims processing system and are scaling this capability so all Veteran claims can be processed within 125 days.
To see the new system, visit www.fasttrack.va.gov.
We are providing more data sets and tools on Data.gov. To date, we have over 50 data sets and tools available for topics including polytrauma sites, spending, and hospital quality and safety just to name a few. Search for VA data sets at www.data.gov.
Additionally in November 2010 we published VA's ASPIRE tool, where Veterans and everyone else can see how their hospital is performing at www.hospitalcompare.va.gov/aspire/index.asp.
We improved our website for the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics. It makes freely available to the public the same data which VA uses in its own operations and which is reported to the Congress and other stakeholders. Check out the improved site here: http://www.va.gov/vetdata/index.asp.
Communication is one of the key tenets of an Open Government. VA continues to lead on other social media platforms with over 97,000 fans on Facebook and 14,000 followers on Twitter. In October 2010 we launched our first blog, VAntage Point, to enable a two-way dialogue with Veterans, their families, and citizens. Check it out at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/.