VBMS

Benjamin KrauseVA OIG just reported that the VA Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) may not fix the backlog in 2015 despite costing double projections, totaling $1.3 billion.

In 2013, Under Secretary Allison Hickey and former Secretary Eric Shinseki claimed a new electronic system called VBMS would be a primary fix for the backlog. They both boasted to Congress and the general public that VBMS would be the fix America hoped for.

RELATED: Sexting, VBMS And The Fast Track Program

A VA OIG audit of VBMS found inadequate cost controls, unplanned changes and inefficient contracting practices are holding back system development. The VA management and IT failures have more than doubled project costs from $579 million to $1.3 billion.

@deptvetaffairs when will #VA fix the #backlog? Click to Tweet

VA OIG concluded VBMS lacked required assurances to have the confidence Hickey spoke with two years ago:

Further, scanning and digitization of veterans’ claims lacked a detailed plan and an analysis of business requirements. As such, we could not determine whether VBMS had resulted in improved claims processing. We concluded that given the complexity of the automation initiative, VBA will face challenges meeting its claims processing improvement goals by the end of 2015.

Source: http://www.va.gov/oig/publications/report-summary.asp?id=3595

28 COMMENTS

    • @Lauren… Thank you for helping me catch the Freudian slip!! debt vs dept in @deptvetaffairs… 🙂 All this money going out the window without answers – it is clear what I had on my mind last night….

      • The “depth” of the VA Black Hole’s large sucking sound (Ross Perot) was haunting you? LOL. I happen to have acquired a medication induced mild form of dyslexia and do that stuff often, coupled with neuropathic hands and typing…can be a Freudian disaster slip anytime.

        Ben, great artwork as well this week. Top form.

  1. Ben, it sure sounds like the VA has found yet another excuse to ask for at least an additional $1.3 Billion for next year’s budget **AND** an excuse already freshly “spun” for not meeting their Oct. 1, 2015 deadline of eliminating the claims backlog. (guess they could not shred fast enough)

    The Ca$h Cow Black Hole VA OIG even freely admits:
    “[VA OIG concluded VBMS lacked required assurances to have the confidence Hickey spoke with two years ago: Further, scanning and digitization of veterans’ claims lacked a detailed plan and an analysis of business requirements. As such, we could not determine whether VBMS had resulted in improved claims processing. We concluded that given the complexity of the automation initiative, VBA will face challenges meeting its claims processing improvement goals by the end of 2015.]”

    Am I reading this correctly for content when they mention VA lacking “REQUIRED ASSURANCES”, as THAT as *code* for MORE CA$H, PLEASE?!!!!
    I think so.

    There has to be some serious stuffing of pockets of American Tax Dollars without ever being required to have a TRUE AUDIT…that’s why NOTHING pans out that the VA announces because the VA simply does what it wants once getting said cash under their very own direction.

    The VA *absolutely* NEEDS A Fiduciary appointed for them. The pattern again and again always leads to blaming lack of resources because [insert project here] was poorly planned…always.

    The VA Is LYING. This is nothing but VA fairy dust attempting to lay the path for justification through failure (codependence anyone?), for sole purpose of gaining more ca$h in their budget, nothing less. Sociopathic, at the very least. This is a piss-poor way of attempting to show how they have misspent/spent $$$ allocated to the VA…and mark my words, the VA will rely on their OWN abbreviated assessment in today’s article to give to Congress (if they even do that), as “evidence” of what, where, how much was $pent. Seen this over and over before. Definition of insanity constantly being played out on VA stage…with sponsorship/endorsement by VA OIG. That makes the VA OIG an enabler, nothing less.

  2. namnibor, even if VA were to get a ‘fiduciary’, it would probably be a “group” they could dictate to, or dictate “what” to report.
    Like I said yesterday, something very horrendous needs to take place nationwide for ALL of America to put VA in their place. Something even worse than what happened in Phoenix, Az.

  3. To All,
    I hope McD and ‘company’ have a VERY hard time trying to convince Congress for taxpayers money. I think they are going to have to prove why they need so much this time. I also believe Congress and the Senate will Kow-Tow to VA. Even though VA has NOT been “transparent”, “accountable” or “honest” in any way to the American taxpayers, veterans and ‘voters’ and those two government entities….
    I believe there’s something more going on. I believe that “Planned Parenthood fiasco”,(Gov. Scott of Florida is now being investigated for fraud due to his involvement with that group), which may cause another government shutdown like in 2013, is a ‘smoke screen’ over something else taxpayers, veterans and voters are not being told about. Will Americans only be pissed about “federal parks”, “Military Gravesites”, “Memorials” and more being closed Indefinitely, like they were last time? OR, will they wake up and take action this time?
    How much more $$$$$$ is going to be needed for the “Black hole in Aurora, Col., Orlando, Fl., and elsewhere. Is VA going to add in their demands for more $$$ for the additional hospitals and clinics they are wanting and planning to build? According to many news reports here in Central Florida, VA can’t get Physicians, Nurses and other needed personnel to work at any VA. So, why build more unused space!!!!
    How about that F-35 screw-up. I have heard they did bring ONE ‘into service’? ONE, yep, just one! How many TRILLIONS did that cost the taxpayers that they knew nothing about? Or, how about Korea and Russia, and who knows how many others, gearing up militarily? Iran yelling “Death to America and Israel”! How about our frigging President, who in my opinion, is extremely incompetent. And doesn’t give a rats ass about our military and veterans. How about the MANY non-veteran entities out there trying to help veterans. Compared to veterans organizations not doing a damn thing, or very little, for vets!!!!
    There’s so many articles out now, it’s hard to keep up.
    Anyone else got more?????

    • *Maybe* the VA is constructing an underground high efficiency wind-tunnel type shredder, largest on Earth on scale of the Haldron Collider that connects the various VA Construction Site Black Holes?
      Meanwhile, Mexico is going to letting 1000’s of Middle Eastern Refugees to come-in and THAT FOLKS, tells me in according to ‘The Art of War’, they will then come right through our borders and Obama will allow it…and you cannot convince me that the very terrorists we are still at WAR WITH do not already have MANY infiltrations and agents amongst them…this actually not only pisses me off, but scares the crap out me that such reckless behavior while acting casual in an ear-deep war that we are not winning.
      Sorry a bit off topic here, but as a Veteran, seeing all that’s ging on and then the non-use of the DOJ to fully turn the VA upside down, not considering Veteran Lives a “Social Issue”, I am fully sick of this dereliction of duty and that goes for a President, whom appoints various VA positions, and does not really play the ‘buck stops here’…they are all micro managers, which means always contacting things out then those companes sub-contract out..all along, the VA has no accountability and just keeps handing out the dough irresponsibly.

      VETERAN LIVES MATTER and IF YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR VETERANS, DO NOT SEND US/THEM TO YOUR WARS…GO YOURSELF.

      Time for “The Wall”…with landmines…a moat with genetically enhanced Piranhas…and I hope I am not the only person or amongst a very small number, that foresee the coming storm.
      I am thinking our beloved America has been slowly poisoned by the self-serving bureaucrats and politicians, like leeches and lamprey, and I hope to GOD these presidential debates will have relevant VA and Veteran topics and questions and talking points.
      Maybe a list of email addresses or whatever social media could be compiled to flood each and every candidate on all sides of aisle, to ensure this happens.

      Over and ranted out.

      • Oh, forgot to remind folks, another Presidential Debate talks place tonight and so do not forget to pop your popcorn and Jump Boots for the crap, as it will be thick and free-flowing.
        I want to hear relevant questions and answers about the Wars we are still in. We need another Patton and Eisenhower.

      • namnibor, just the other day Germany CLOSED their borders because they found ISIS terrorists among the displaced refugees. How’s that for being kind to men, women and children who will do anything against any country trying to help them. Yes, women and children can be terrorists also. Remember Vietnam folks????

      • crazyelf,
        I think that the VA is building more hospitals, CBOCs’ and such for job and cash security. If they build all of these “new” million or billion dollar places then how can the govt. just shut them down or not finish them. The VA will say that that is a waste of money (we all know they have never wasted a dollar. lol) to shut these new and improved places that the veterans love so much. By doing so, they will allow themselves the opportunity to steal more money from us taxpayers, promote how great the VA is, and keep Dr’s who would otherwise be fired and have their licenses taken away on the outside. Don’t forget about the bonuses as well. What would they do if their cash cow was taken away from them?
        It’s not about helping us, it is about lining their own pocket and end the end, the person with the most cash wins.
        Don’t forget, we as supposed to get some of those refugees. I wonder how long it will be before we hear of something like that happening here. I also think that it is a shame that they are having this problem; however, we have so many vets and civilians now that are homeless and the govt. does nothing. Until we take care of our own back yard, we should not be letting anyone in. Once we get our back yard cleaned up, then we can help in this way.
        f8f

  4. The Government has had over 200 years to fix the Post Office and we know how that is working out. What makes anyone think the VA can be fixed within any time frame?

    If you own a car, for years you may be able to fix it. However, the times comes when it just doesn’t make sense or the car is not road worthy. The VA is like a car that has been fixed so many times, it is now held together with bailing wire and duct tape. Like that car, it can’t be fixed anymore, it needs either a complete ground up rebuild or a whole new model.

    My head wants to explode over all these initiatives, programs, directives, policy enhancements, reports, new systems, and improvements the VA continually rolls out. Two years later, you look back and what do your have? The same old VA, or maybe not even the same old VA, a worse VA.

    It is obvious there will be nothing drastically done with the way VA delivers care or benefits with this lame duck administration. All we can hope for is a huge overhaul in the next one – provided we live that long.

  5. namnibor,
    You are far from being among the few who believe “something (an internal WAR) is on the horizon”! There’s probably thousands, if not millions, of concerned citizens out there who believe our “Commander in Chief” WANTS war….Yes, I’m among the many who believes that.
    I also believe thousands of ‘terrorists’ have already infiltrated our borders. I believe also, if these pukes who are running for President don’t get a grip on reality, our country will pass into the history books like Rome, England, France, Germany, China, Egypt, Mesopotamia and all the other “world powers” of the past!
    Maybe that is being a “doomsayer”. Only there’s no other way to get people to fire-up their minds, bodies and souls and to get off their lazy asses and do something about the mess our government has gotten us into.

  6. An engineer, a priest, a VA doctor and VA Secretary McDonald sharing a cart, are all trying to enjoying a round of golf. Ahead of them is a group playing so slowly and inexpertly that in frustration the four ask the greens-keeper for an explanation.

    “That’s a group of blind firefighters,” they are told. “They lost their sight saving our clubhouse last year, so we let them play for free.”

    The priest says, “I will say a prayer for them tonight.”

    The doctor says, “Let me ask my ophthalmologist colleagues if anything can be done for them.”

    And the engineer says, “Why can’t they play at night?”

    Everyone laughs, except McDonald who says, “I don’t get it.”

    Just then, the priest gets a text message that miffs him and he starts muttering to himself, making McDonald and the VA doctor nervous.

    The VA doctor whispers to McDonald, “What do we do? He’s not a vet, so we can’t set him up with our bogus little Disruptive Behavior List.”

    McDonald answers, “Don’t worry, I was Special Forces and I can protect both of us.”

    The VA doctor says, “The hell you were? Damn, maybe you finished Ranger school, but … ”

    Just then, a horse drives up in his own golf cart looking all depressed, prompting the ophthalmologist to ask, “Hey, buddy, why the long face?”

  7. I lost My Dad to the AZ- VA FIASCO, I saw his last few years of ( LACK OF ) Quality of Life. My Dad served in the US ARMY, then Civilian, My Dad retired as a GM-15 and when We put him in the AZ National cemetery, I had to pay some of his EXPENSES, because he was BROKE from going to a REAL CANCER HOSPITAL!!! HOW about the VA REPAY My MOM???
    Now I am UNEMPLOYED from the Kroger co (after 29 years as A BUTCHER ) for a PERCEIVED PTSD!!! Kroger said I am BAT $HIT CRAZZZY!!!
    VA say’s WE NEED MORE TIME to DECIDE. SERIOUSLY??? I was terminated in FEB2014, I didn’t even have my Eval until JAN 2015. ALL he wanted to ask Me for OVER an hour was HOW I FEEL ABOUT the PEOPLE that were RESPONSIBLE for my TERMINATION!!! Only ? about my Military career was “What Branch?”
    Then hand me a 300 ? paper. WTF!!! OHIO Congressman are USELESS,
    I live in the same town as Gov KASICH, and I CANT get a meeting with Him. I have had NO Help from the Veterans org’s I belong to. I even Attended the National convention in Pittsburg PA. so I could talk to the BIG SHOTS including Obama, NO LUCK!!! I am told that Kroger has Been Getting AWAY with THIS ALL Over the USA!!!
    If you would like to know a Lil bit more about My Problem,
    PLEASE Sign Petition
    https://www.change.org/p/potus-all-congress-combat-vets-lives-matter?recruiter=278863106&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_twitter_responsive … … … … … … … … … …
    Thanks
    Better to VENT First and SHOOT LATER, then SHOOT FIRST and VENT Later
    W.W.P. Alumni
    D.A.V. Life Member
    I.A.V.A. Member
    C.V.M.A. Life Member
    V.F.W. post 7883

  8. the gov isn’t going to fix the VA/VARO i believe.

    the Internet is full of proven documented bits of damning evidence of how America got dragged/duped into WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and the current ME wars.

    the Internet is also full of proven documented investigations into the fraud and corruption of the VA/VARO against the veterans and American citizens.

    we veterans have not seen much accountability of ANYONE or ANY FedAgency in regards to any of this. and yet the evidence is there, veterans law groups know it, investigative reporters know it, the veterans and their families know it, and Congress knows it.

    yet its business as usual. in light of all that and more, that is why i say i just don’t see the VA/VARO getting fixed, corrected or whatever the term of the day is regarding the VA’s systemic failures & corruptness.

    if the American gov doesn’t have the veterans backs when they wear the uniform performing their assigned duties, then its hard for me at this stage of my life to see the American gov fixing the VA/VARO or holding anyone accountable.

    just the thought of someone like B. Sanders running for POTUS who held no fed union employee accountable at VA/VARO and just handed over to VA whatever amount of taxpayer dollars he could get his hands on, makes me want to puke. see so many people willing to vote for him?

    you think those voters give a hoot if veterans get thier fair shake and also hold VA accountable? i don’t think so.

    no way VA/VARO is gonna get fixed. the pres and Congress are both bought and owned, its so evident now. too many powerful players got their hands in the VA cookie jar.

  9. The VA already has an answer to eliminating the backlog. I read a few months ago (maybe on this website?) about the VA using IBM’s Watson supercomputer to rate claims. It handles them in minutes rather than months. The problem? People within the VA said these claims were rated too highly — despite the elimination of all human bias and the machine being comprehensively programmed with all the latest and greatest CFR’s and DBQ’s.

    The problem here is the AFGE and other unions in the VBA. It’s all about their job security. If something eliminates this backlog in a matter of weeks, they’re afraid Congress will make them eliminate jobs. Also, by low-balling claims, the VA ensures it has even more work in the future.

    The VA is a bureaucracy because it puts its own interests above its mission. The tragedy here is that no one has the balls to stand up to the unions and tell them, “We’re going to use automation because it’s the best course for our veterans. Your interests will ALWAYS come second to the people you were hired to serve.”

    As near as I can tell, most VBA employees would be just as happy if they no veteran ever got his/her earned benefits. It’s completely bass-ackward — a true case of the tail wagging the dog.

    • Stephen, excellent points, especially about how the VA feels threatened by a supercomputer or software programs that can easily do their job and do it quickly and right! We need more of your observations here. It gets to Ben and others he works with, including high level media people he has access to. Thanks!

  10. Here’s a novel idea…How about not forcing 80-90% to go through an appeal…The appeals have GOT to be the main thing slowing down the process, and yet the VA continues to almost automatically deny most initial claims…

  11. Ben, I have told you all I could through your emails. But what was done to me should NEVER EVER SHOULD BE DONE TO A VETERAN! THE VA IG IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE VETERANS SHE IS “DAMAGE CONTROL.” I am the wrong person to play silly bull shit games-but I want her “stripped” of all her power, her rank and status removed. I was taught “old school values.” As a working cohesive force in the military you take care of your brother or sister in the military regardless what service. But I KNOW HER KIND, and you would never believe me-but you should read as best you can of older emails. Now your radio talk that day I called out several as we each did our own “DSM” psychological evaluations-my device would not allow me to see any other things you had published. YOU GET ME? YOU SHOULD!!!! ( I hope you can read what I was trying to say to you. I have a very hard time communicating after what occurred but I know one who remembers and was damn pissed off. He should be, I am the one he loves, jokes with, and we make really bad jokes. ( not me, but he knows I know my shit! You bring up two names? “MY IRISH WITH AN ITALIAN ATTITUDE I TAKE YOU ON BECAUSE OF MY KNOWLEDGE, NOT A BOX FOR TUBE FEEDINGS!” ) I don’t scare easily in nature, so her kind and her ilk of the “few” should be concerned-silence is a deadly weapon. YET INVADING MY PRIVACY OF PHONE CALLS FROM UTAH AND THEN ANOTHER-“OSCAR PERFORMANCE!” ( no not on a stage, just a photographic memory-yup-weird and nerdy, but I care more about those who are being harmed.)

  12. The VA is being run by a cackle of inept and repugnant people.

    Baghdad Bob McDonald: told the crowd in Colorado that he was an engineer by training and he had found the problem with Aurora personally. The reason: too many architects and not enough engineers. Really? Where was the financial oversight?

    He told a Special Forces veteran on a walk about he too was Special Forces. Only he wasn’t. The man is head of the VA to build a legacy. After being fired by Proctor and Gamble he ego needs stroking and he probably really believes he can be the VA’s savior.

    Alison Hickey. EEO promotion from the very start. Menopausal lady who alternately berates the veterans affairs congressional committee telling them it’s all their fault to saying God told her not to resign. Maybe zoloft would be of some help. Along with retiring and letting someone more effective try a hand at it.

    Robert Reynolds. Google will bring up his moral inadequacy.

    The inspector general? They are the defacto cover-up team for the top. They will never be a part of the fix in favor of veterans. Sure, little battles will be won when they can’t cover them up but the war will be lost with their back stabbing the veterans.

    The VA will not be fixed until two things happen: the entire top echelon takes their toys and goes home and competition for the veterans money comes into play. With the money saved getting rid of useless and downright evil employees veteran could have CHAMPVA. It is already in place for dependents of 100% SC disabled veterans and copays and fees can easily be adjusted for sc issues and income.

    Congress needs to seriously consider cutting the VA’s budget to the bone. Stop all construction pending an outside review and audit and establish real alternatives for veterans for outside care in their own community by competent doctors. Don’t waste money hiring more for a system that is a complete failure. Put that money to better use in the community. It’s a win-win. Communities benefit from having vets use the local medical community and vets benefit by being able to choose their own medical provider.

    As far as the VBA and benefits. It is FUBAR’d in it’s present form. Hickey lies like a rug on how many she has settled. My own FDC claim is 16 months old with no idea what they are doing.

    Take that system apart and rebuild it. Take SMC T for instance. Congress passed an 8 line law for aid and attendance for veterans with TBI that the VA turned into a 500 page mess written to expressly deny that benefit.

    Congress needs to reign in the beast and kill it.

    • Great ideas. Send them to Trump as we all have. Here’s his email address,
      [email protected] dot com”

      • Thank you. I think Trump is our only hope. An outsider who is worth 10 billion? I doubt he can be bought, he obviously can handle a budget, and he says what most of us are thinking.

        We could do a lot worse. Imagine a McDonald/Hickey ticket.

      • Well, he’s not taken money from lobbyists, PACS or SuperPacs. That’s a good sign. He wants to tax the rich, not the middle class and he already knows The poor ain’t got squat.

  13. Well in March my wife’s claim will hit the 9 year mark it was filed. We thought we had some hope after almost 8 years when we finally got to the BVA but no luck. Then we were sure we had it done after the VBA sent her file to another medical examiner in Washington DC, when that report came back smelling like roses. Even going so far as to say not only has her symptoms of Lupus been present since in service due to numerous visits to medical while in, but also that the military doctors failed to do their job by not referring her to specialist while in and suffering. And that a ton of her symptoms were related to the Lupus (more than likely, no less). No luck. Then we received a letter from the BVA stating that they found that her SLE (Lupus) was service connected, but nothing else was mentioned of her other illnesses sent in caused by Lupus weren’t mentioned, regardless of what the report said. So we thought maybe we are at least close to getting the ratings since the BVA said the Lupus was service connected. Not the case. We then were told that now the claim was being sent back to the Phoenix Regional office for a decision. The same place it was denied 8years ago. Well that was almost 5 months ago and we can’t help to wonder if we have another 9 years to wait again just to get a rating. Especially since I went through something similar with my claim when I filed it way back when and I am wheelchair bound with 340% worth of Service connected disabilities and illnesses. But this is ridiculous. So when the VA says they’re fixing a system, which a person is still waiting nine years to be resolved while they’re stating this, is in out right lie. Meanwhile, it’s harder for my wife to get fee basis and other medical appointments because of the rating not being complete. So there is a reason for their stalling, and that’s because it’s saving them billions of dollars in not having to treat those who are hundred percent service connected with no rating decision. I don’t know what other reason these snakes have for doing this, especially since they’ve already stated that her lupus i-connected. Good luck to those other brothers and sisters going through what we have been going through. God bless, Timothy Ramos

    http://www.gofundme.com/WoundedWarriorTRamosFundForYouth

    http://timothy-ramos.strikingly.com

  14. Dear Mr. Krause:

    Yes, it cost taxpayers 1 billion to fix the damage to veterans, but how much more did the lavish life, and waste and stealing of the VA cost, cost the taxpayer, in taxes of the money that was earmarked collected to help the veteran that was never accounted for that was stolen, that should have gone to id the veteran that never went to where it was collected for?

    • I am trying to find out how much congress gave the VA since 2011 the year I was told claims were first paid out for Special Monthly Compensation T versus how much the VA spent on giving the money to veterans qualifying for SMC T. Indianapolis VBA Director ignores all FOIA requests. The veterans affairs congressional committee can’t come up with numbers as neither can my congressman’s office and he sits on the committee.

      And, I would like to know if they didn’t give out as much as congress gave for the benefit where did that money go?

      Fake Special Forces Robert McDonald and his crew (and McDonald, Hickey, and Robert Reynolds have all touched his claim) denied my husband a 21 year REAL Special Forces officer and former NCO SMC T despite the fact he is already service connected for TBI and two doctors have filled out 21-2680’s.

      According to the IG reports I am collecting it seems virtually every regional office screwed up royally in approving SMC T and VSO’s and lawyers are telling me the VBA has no intention of giving that money out.

      My congressman Rep. Lee Zeldin thinks it is just fine to be ignored by McDonald. First it would take a month to answer him, now two months. He seems to have zero clue that his power is between now and October 1st. After Mcdonald gets his budget he has no need for a congressman.

      And, I know his office is reading here. His head of constituent services asked me for Ben’s web address on the MN TBI scandal.

      A lot of money has been stolen from veterans. And, I am sure McDonald and Hickey still sleep at night. Hickey safe in her religion thinking praying for being forgiven will punch her ticket to heaven and McDonald safe is his very own Rambo wet dream.

      May they both be very surprised by the dogs of Hell one day.

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