DOD, VA Officials Defend Progress In Rare Joint Hearing

Amber Corrin | FCW | July 11, 2013

Amid criticism of deficient leadership, officials from the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs on July 10 reiterated their commitment to an electronic health records-sharing program during a joint hearing between the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees in Washington.

Leaders from DOD and the VA told lawmakers that plans remain on target for seamless sharing of troops' medical data between the two agencies by the end of this year. They also said the system will eliminate the use of wasteful paper-based records and eventually help expedite the claims process – a process that has created a backlog of outstanding benefits claims that the VA is laboring mightily to clear.

At the same time, DOD officials are moving forward with plans to solicit a new software-based healthcare management system, while the VA remains intent on modernizing its current Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture [VistA] system.