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Potential Va Benefits Chief Has New Ideas


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  • HadIt.com Elder

-----Original Message-----

From: D. Mac Donald [mailto:dmac107@dlm.hrcoxmail.com]

Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 10:12 AM

To: dav@davchpt13.hrcoxmail.com

Cc: colonel-dan@sbcglobal.net

Subject: Potential VA benefits chief has new ideas

Posted by: "Robert F. White" etihwr2@verizon.net myfranks

Mon Feb 2, 2009 9:18 pm (PST)

http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2009/02/...claims_020209w/

Potential VA benefits chief has new ideas

By Rick Maze - Staff writer

Posted : Monday Feb 2, 2009 17:36:26 EST

A Harvard University researcher with some radical ideas about how to reduce

the backlog of veterans disability claims appears to be in line to head the

Veterans Benefits Administration.

Linda Blimes, a public policy lecturer and research at Harvard's Kennedy

School of Government, wants the Department of Veterans Affairs to operate

like the Internal Revenue Service - on an honor system that trusts veterans

claiming service-connected disabilities. All veterans claims would be

approved as soon as they are filed, with a random audit conducted to "weed

out and deter fraudulent claims," Blimes told the House Veterans' Affairs

Committee in testimony in 2008.

Ninety percent of veterans disability claims end up being paid after they

make it through the system, she said - proof, she said, that most veterans

are asking only for what they deserve.

Immediate payment of at least a minimum benefit would help to reduce the

average 180-day waiting time for initial benefits claims to be processed and

allow VA to redeploy the employees processing those claims to work on more

complicated appeals, she said.

Blimes also has talked of a vastly simplified disability rating system that

would have just four ratings instead of the current 10 for service-connected

disabilities and illnesses.

Blimes has not been formally announced as a nominee, but her name is being

circulated among lawmakers and congressional staff in what has become a

standard procedure to determine whether there is any strong opposition to

her taking the key post.

Her idea of a streamlined claims process has some prominent supporters,

among them Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., the House Veterans Affairs Committee

chairman who has talked of automatic claims approval as a way to quickly

eliminate the claims backlog.

Retired Rear Adm. Patrick Dunne, a holdover from the Bush administration,

has stayed on to run the VBA until a successor is named. He is not the only

VA executive who has stayed around; Dr. Michael Kussman also remains as VA's

undersecretary for health.

In addition to Blimes, another name being circulated is that of disabled

Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, who could become VA's chief of

intergovernmental affairs. Duckworth, the Illinois director of veterans

affairs, is closely associated with President Barack Obama.

On Friday, the White House announced its intention to nominate W. Scott

Gould, a former Navy Reserve intelligence officer, to be VA deputy secretary

under retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, the former Army chief of staff

recently named to head VA.

Gould does not have experience running veterans programs, but he was

co-chairman of the review team that looked at VA for Obama and has

experience in trying to centralize and streamline organizations. Gould is

vice president for public sector strategy at IBM Global Business Services.

Gould is married to Michelle Flournoy, whom Obama has nominated to be

undersecretary of defense for policy.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed

without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the

included information for research and educational purposes. Reference:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

__._,_.___"Keep on, Keepin' on"

Dan Cedusky, Champaign IL "Colonel Dan"

See my web site at:

http://www.angelfire.com/il2/VeteranIssues/

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  • HadIt.com Elder

HALLAFREEKINLOOOYAH!

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I don't get the part that says:

"Blimes also has talked of a vastly simplified disability rating system that

would have just four ratings instead of the current 10 for service-connected

disabilities and illnesses."

Does that mean that instead of 10-100% in incriments of 10% they would go to 25-50-75-100%? If that is the case I would assume that a lotta vets would get lower percentages than they have now. VA isn't gonna round up and 25% is a big gap.

If I'm wrong on that could someone post what they meant by the 10 ratings?

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  • HadIt.com Elder

This is absolutely wonderful news. A fresh wind is blowing. I went to VAMC yesterday and have never been so well treated the staff and other Veterans all saying hello and being polite to all. I felt like I was with a big family.

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  • HadIt.com Elder
This is absolutely wonderful news. A fresh wind is blowing. I went to VAMC yesterday and have never been so well treated the staff and other Veterans all saying hello and being polite to all. I felt like I was with a big family.

I find that encouraging. Thanks for the sit-rep, Pete53.

Edited by Commander Bob 92-93
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I don't get the part that says:

"Blimes also has talked of a vastly simplified disability rating system that

would have just four ratings instead of the current 10 for service-connected

disabilities and illnesses."

Does that mean that instead of 10-100% in incriments of 10% they would go to 25-50-75-100%? If that is the case I would assume that a lotta vets would get lower percentages than they have now. VA isn't gonna round up and 25% is a big gap.

If I'm wrong on that could someone post what they meant by the 10 ratings?

I am wondering about this too.

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  • HadIt.com Elder
I don't get the part that says:

"Blimes also has talked of a vastly simplified disability rating system that

would have just four ratings instead of the current 10 for service-connected

disabilities and illnesses."

Linda Bilmes Testifies Before House Subcommittee on Veterans’ Health Care Costs

Hearing on Veterans' Health Care Costs

Testimony before US House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee

March 13, 2007

"... the VBA should replace the cumbersome 0-100 scale for disabilities with a simple four-level ranking: zero disabled, low disability, medium disability, and high disability. This would immediately streamline the process, reduce discrepancies between regions, and likely cut the number of appeals. The VBA should create a “short form” for returning veterans, using this four-level ranking and set a goal of processing all claims within 60 days of receipt. This new system should be up and running within two years, including retraining of the workforce and developing necessary guidelines and appeals procedures. " link: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/news-events/new...alth-care-costs

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