VA Seeks 5 Percent Boost in IT Funding

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The department’s budget request includes $173 million for the paperless claims system.

The Veterans Affairs Department requested an information technology budget of $3.9 billion in 2015, an increase of $200 million or just over 5 percent from $3.7 billion enacted in 2014.

Officials said a top priority remains the development and deployment of a digital and electronic operating environment with an investment of $173 million in the paperless Veterans Benefits Management System, which, if approved, will bring the total cost of that system to $664 million.

The department also plans to spend $138.7 million on its program to convert paper claims documents to electronic records. Veterans filing for claims today can do so electronically, but older files are still in paper. Last year, VA estimated it would need to scan 60 million pages a month for an unspecififed period of time to digitize this backlog.

VA also requested $269 million to develop its next-generation electronic health record system and $567 million for telehealth projects to monitor chronic health care conditions, particularly in remote areas.