recommended reading

Veterans Affairs closer to deploying comprehensive e-Benefits portal

The Veterans Affairs Department has started inching toward deployment of an online comprehensive health care and benefits portal recommended by the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors in an August 2007 report. VA expects to have a bare-bones site operating in the next few weeks on Army Knowledge On-Line (AKO), the Army's enterprise Web portal.

Comment on this article in the forum.The Wounded Warriors Commission recommended that VA and the Defense Department develop within a year a Web-based portal to provide patients with health care and benefits information from the two departments. On March 11, top VA and Defense officials told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that they intend to develop Web portals that integrate veterans' heath records on a comprehensive Web site, which also provides information on follow-up services.

Retired Air Force Col. Peter Bunce, father of Justin Bunce, a medically retired Marine Corporal severely wounded in Iraq, said in an interview that a Web portal was only as good as the information it contained. He urged that Web-based systems established by Defense and VA contain information on a range of clinical resources, including care available outside the VA and Defense health systems. Bunce said he found health care and specialists for his son Justin, who also suffers from traumatic brain injury, without VA's help.

Bunce said any comprehensive Web portal should provide information based on geography, and the departments needed to devise a way to supply specialized care and benefits information to patients and their families, rather than expecting them to find it. VA also should ensure that each patient had a case manager who coordinated care -- including home visits -- and one lead doctor to manage clinical care, he added.

Dr. Paul Tibbits, VA's deputy chief information officer for enterprise development, wrote in an e-mail that the initial, unsecured eBenefits Web site available through AKO will link to other sites for use by wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans and their families. By this fall, he said, VA anticipates having a secure eBenefits portal site operational, based on the log-on model of Army Knowledge Online and its Defense Knowledge Online counterpart. This version of the eBenefits portal will present health care and benefits information as recommended by the Wounded Warriors Commission, Tibbits said.

Kevin Carroll, a consultant who previously served as program executive officer for Army's enterprise information systems, said AKO was safer and more efficient because VA will be able to tap into the AKO and DKO personnel directories and leverage those portals' already developed applications. The department then could take a "cut-and-paste" approach to development, rather than start from scratch, he said.

VA also is developing an advanced Web portal called My eBenefits, which is scheduled to go live in fiscal 2009, according to Tibbits.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.