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Bipartisan bill to modernize VA records introduced

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Source: Office of the Congresswoman

Washington, D.C.— Congresswoman Aumua Amata this past Thursday announced the introduction of H.R. 4588 Modernizing VA’s Records Management Program Act. This bill, sponsored by Rep. T.J. Cox (D-CA) with original cosponsors Reps. Aumua Amata (R-AS) and Greg Steube (R-FL), would treat digitized records as originals with respect to claims administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. This will ease the process of applying for claims and getting veterans the care that they need.

“As modern technology improves, there are fewer excuses for inefficiencies in record keeping. Digital records are both convenient and sensible. This legislation will help save time and resources so we can focus on what is most important: caring for our veterans. I want to thank my colleagues for their work on this, and I hope we continue this trend of bipartisan efforts on behalf of our veterans.” said Aumua Amata, Vice Ranking Member of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

“The Veterans Administration pioneers state of the art treatments but parts of their record keeping systems are stuck in the 20th century,” said Rep. Cox. “This bill will pull the VA into the modern age by allowing veterans to submit digital copies of their medical records, saving time, money, and paper. It’s a long overdue change that will help get veterans get services quicker and I’m glad to work with a bipartisan coalition to get it done.”

“As a veteran, I know the struggles many of our nation’s veterans are experiencing when they seek care at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities,” said Rep. Greg Steube. “I am proud to support this bipartisan legislation to modernize certain VA systems and increase access and simplicity for our veterans.”

This bill would balance claimants’ ability to dispute genuine inaccuracies in the record while also, streamlining and accelerating the record development process. H.R. 4588 would assist the VA as they modernize and adapt to technological advancements with the goal of best serving our veterans.

In recent years, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has moved to process over 99% of compensation claims electronically since the implementation of the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS). This transition has been key to reducing the backlog of claims, as it allows routing of claims between all 56 regional offices based on available capacity and reduces the time spent on the claim by each claim processor.

This bill would amend Title 38 of the United States Code to allow for photographs, microphotographs, and digitized versions of files, records, reports, or other papers or documents to be treated the same as originals for the department. These provisions are included to ensure the veteran’s files are safeguarded, as well as accurate.