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OIT Specialists Deliver Seamless Support to Home-bound VBA Staff Who Process Record Numbers of Veteran Claims During Pandemic

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  • Published on: April 21, 2020

As the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ramped up measures across the enterprise to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, VA’s Office of Information and Technology (OIT) went the extra mile to ensure that Veterans continued receiving uninterrupted service.

In support of VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the dedication of OIT employees drove exceptional results amid challenging circumstances. VBA and OIT leadership teams worked shoulder to shoulder to conduct joint gateway ‘stress tests’ on the Virtual Private Network (VPN) and the Citrix Access Gateway (CAG). Both ‘stress tests’ enabled expansion of VBA’s telework capacity, which, in turn allowed VBA to successfully process record numbers of Veterans claims as processors’ started working from home.

One key category of essential services for VA is processing Veteran’s disability compensation and pension claims. IT Specialists distinguished themselves by ensuring that VBA processors, many moving to work remotely, could process and address claims without disruption.

As VA activated coronavirus pandemic-related IT systems testing and expansion, VBA claims processed the following total claims per day:

Total claims processed by day
Date Claims
Monday, March 16, 2020 6,840
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 7,014
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 7,272
Thursday, March 19, 2020 6,897

To put these data-points into context, during a normal week VBA production volume fluctuates between 5,500 to 6,100 claims processed daily, according to Bennett Gebken, Senior Program Analyst of Integrated Systems Delivery at VBA’s Office of Business Process Integration.

“Using rough numbers, VBA’s productivity was 10 percent to 15 percent above the normal averages even as VBA claims processors worked from home to implement social distancing measures,” Mr. Gebken said, referring to the week of March 16. He added, “It’s impressive that we are producing more than normal, instead of having a drop-in productivity. It highlights that our telework capabilities are working as designed, thanks to years of OIT investment coupled with VBA continuity of operations and human capital planning!”

Even as VA’s systems infrastructure specialists activated emergency stress-testing to expand VA workforce tele-work capacity and other coronavirus pandemic-related contingencies, IT Specialists dug deep, and worked shoulder to shoulder with VBA personnel to meet claims-processing requirements.

The OIT specialists’ successful support of VBA claims processors during the fast-moving pivot to emergency footing represents their remarkable commitment to fulfilling VA Secretary Robert Wilkie’s promise to Veterans: consistently providing quality delivery of the benefits and services that Veterans have earned.

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.

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Page last updated on April 21, 2020

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