Avid readers of the WatchBlog have seen some of our many posts on veterans’ access to health care and other support services, such as disability payments. Despite years of attempts to correct ongoing problems with health care and disability benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs continues to struggle, in part because of issues with the information technology that underpins these vital systems—one of the reasons it’s on our High Risk list. In addition, VA has had other IT problems as well, such as slow consolidation and closure of its data centers. Today’s WatchBlog takes a closer look at some of these IT challenges. Old software and systems continue to plague VA Although VA has annually spent around $4 billion on IT over the past few years, it continues to lag in updating the IT infrastructure supporting its health care and disability benefits services.
- In 2010, we reported that after VA spent $127 million and 9 years updating its 30-year-old medical appointment scheduling system, it decided to procure a new scheduling system instead of implementing the updates. And although we recommended six ways VA could improve this new system, as of May 2017 it had not fully addressed them.
- We also found that VA had taken steps to implement a new system to process disability benefits, but that it didn’t know how much the system would ultimately cost or when it would be complete. In the meantime, VA continues to use a 51-year old Benefits Delivery Network—not due to retire until 2018.