Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Is the VA Claims Improvement Process a Good Thing?

VA health care (socialized medicine) and its claims process is an adversarial system that costs the taxpayers a lot of money.  So, any improvement in this huge socialized health system in real terms might lead to improvements in non-socialized health care, as well.

For example, see this link used by VA doctors to diagnose disability claims.  http://benefits.va.gov/TRANSFORMATION/dbqs/ListBySymptom.asp.

As a veteran, knowing the forms used by doctors for any condition is a good thing.  I learn the VA medical jargon, the tests used, and can search for my own medical stuff via a convenient check-off list based on symptoms I am well acquainted with, with minimal effort.

The good news is these checklists are beneficial to evaluation of anyone's medical conditions and symptoms. Vet or civilian.  It also serves as a good example of a fundamental change in all health care.  The patient is the expert on their own health.  The difficulty in conveying their health problems and symptoms with such documents and data would lead to a better heath care system. 

I prefer the efficiency of check lists in health care because they are easy to complete and documents known and unknown symptoms for starters that anyone can review and complete. So to me, this is a vast improvement due to its transparency.

Second, in regard to the claims process and the increasing backlog due to all the warfare and new vets, the VA put into place, a routing system and continues to digitize medical records.  But still, like I stated above, the VA remains an adversarial system on purpose. 

How claims are routed by regional office in the VA regional office's zany adversarial system will be used against eligible veterans to get rid of them quicker, still lacking a fundamental fairness to those vets that are eligible..  So there remains a lack of confidence on my part the VA will merely continue to be adversarial to eligible veterans and their claims.

Finally, in regard to Congress controlling spending, I see little indication that is going to happen. Recently, Congress sent to the Senate the COLA adjustment for inflation that will at the end of the year, give COLA adjustments to both VA and Social Security recipients a 1.9% increase in 2013.  Coupled with the increase to the Department of Defense, politicians remain just that in their puffery-kicking the can closer to the triple storm effect forcing the federal budget over the cliff, sooner or later.

All of this indicates to me, politicians and their pre-election rhetoric merely convinces me post-election no fiscal sanity will occur this year and more than likely little will be done in 2013 either. The good news to this post is a subtle improvement in health care by simply getting better data at the beginning of any process is an improvement worth writing about here. 

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