As part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA’s) Digital Transformation, we digitized and transformed paper benefit claims into the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS). Gone are the days of cubicles engulfed in paper claims. Now the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) processes nearly 100 percent of disability compensation claims electronically through VBMS. The system allows claims processors and power of attorney designees to instantly review close to 3 billion images related to Veterans claims. We structured VBMS as an online database composed of veterans’ electronic claims files and their supporting documents. When designing VBMS, we went beyond a simple digital repository for our business partners by automating rating decision recommendations, the award and notification processes, and communications between our VBA partners and Veterans throughout a claim’s life cycle. With over 387 million documents in the system, VBMS is a crucial platform for our business partners to deliver benefits accurately and quickly to Veterans.
From its launch, we have highly monitored VBMS to ensure that risks or issues are quickly resolved to keep this essential service running smoothly. Our sustainment keeps Veterans’ claims progressing as our partners at VBA adjudicate using all of VBMS’ capabilities.
“We are actively pulling sources together to get a holistic view of VBMS and are applying machine learning to key performance indicators to identify outages with business impact. Ultimately, we are building up the capability to predict incidents” said Brad Sayre, Operations Triage Group (OTG).
Recently, there were two separate small outages of VBMS that affected VBA claims processors. In the first outage, one of the VBMS network nodes ran out of memory, which triggered an alert to the OIT monitoring team. Using insight from their monitoring tools, we worked with local technicians to double the amount of memory at the node, returning it to operation for the 1,700 impacted users in under two hours. In a second incident, a software certificate expired, causing minor issues in an application for some users. Once again, OTG was automatically involved, allowing our teams to quickly confer, confirm, and resolve the issue with minimal impact to VBMS users.
While currently robust, we continue to pursue creative upgrades to monitor all of our applications and systems.
“Day after day, we are increasing our monitoring capabilities to avoid incidents and embrace a proactive approach for all major OIT applications” said Jay Paluch, Director, OTG.
Our commitment to enabling our business partners to succeed guides our comprehensive modernization efforts and their sustainment. Our emphasis on quick resolution to incidents and investment in predictive software exemplifies how we value and build our business relationships.
For further reading on the power of OIT’s monitoring capabilities, check out how our monitoring assists VA Medical Centers across the country.
Our commitment to digital and IT transformation is shaped by daily dedication to customer service and the close collaboration of our workforce, managers, and leaders. Ready to join us in improving Veterans’ care? Check out all current information and technology career opportunities on DigitalVA. You can also contact VA’s Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer at 512-326-6600, Monday thru Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST or by submitting a resume to VACareers@va.gov.