How long is the paperwork backlog at Veterans Affairs?

How long is the paperwork backlog at Veterans Affairs?

According to the agency’s Inspector General, it can be measured in miles

Written by
Edited by Michael Morisy

How long is the paperwork backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs?

A report released last week by the Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs highlighted the current recordkeeping shortcomings for the Veterans Health Administration, tasked with the care and health of the country’s military veterans.

From the last three years alone, the VHA is facing a cumulative recordkeeping backlog of more than 5.15 miles of paper, in addition to a lowball estimate of 597,000 electronic files.

The lack of appropriate quality controls for the necessary backlog, the IG wrote, “put patients’ continuity of care at risk because the lack of current medical documentation makes it challenging to ensure they receive accurate diagnoses and timely quality care.”

The IG visited eight VHA facilities and interviewed another 78 for the analysis. In part, the review is meant to gauge the agency’s readiness to implement portions of the Veterans Affairs MISSION Act, a 2018 law passed to improve the quality of care available to veterans, but which will also increase the amount of paperwork that will need to be digitized and stored by the VA.

However, the IG found that, currently, there are not consistent processes in place to address the medical documentation backlog, and recommended, among other things, that one be put into place immediately.

You can find the whole report, including the Inspector General’s recommendations, embedded below.

Image of the 4th Annual VA BBQ & Car Show which took place June 28, 2019, on the grounds of the VA outpatient clinic in Harlingen, Texas, via Veterans Affairs.