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Digitized Records

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broncovet

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WV Server posted:

My records are digitized and have been since day one my Doc even log onto a DOD site to se my AF records. I was told by my RO that they can even do a word search when your records are digitized.

end quote.

Does anyone know if this has/is happening VA wide? Shinseki promised to digitize our records many, many moons ago, and all I heard about is one glitch after another...abandoned projects, wasted money, etc.

I could see how this is a VERY BIG DEAL, if VA could "do a word search". My file is 1500 pages long, and, no doubt, they dont want to read all or even most of these 1500 pages. However, if they could do a search such as "At least as likely as not"...this should lead to my c and p exam, especially one in 2007 that VA "forgot" about.

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The Veterans Service Officer who is a VA employee at my VAMC told me he could not understand how the VA missed the documents I mentioned since they could do a word search for the condition since my records had been digitized. He claims he sent an email to the RO about it and it almost got him fired, he is one of them guys I met him in 2006 when I left the Air Force he was a real nice guy always said I should file. Met him again in 2011 he has turned into a pure buns holes.

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broncovet

From the research that I've done, a large amount of money (millions and millions)was spent to develop the VBMS System to review and digitise SMRs for claims. Who could argue with a system that proposes to be faster, better and more efficient to adjudicate vets claims? There's no question that there have been lots of challenges with the system? Most articles point to last July as the deadline to start ensuring "all" submitted hard-copy medical records to be digitised? Now instesad of going to 50 RO's, they go to only two locations around the country. So, in theory it should make the overall claims system work well when it is fully up and running? However, one of the biggest issues as I see it is that if a Vet has a lot of handwritten records it could be a negative for them? While typewritten medical records show up fairly clear after scanning,many older style records do not? So, if you are like me where a large amount of your key evidence is handwritten an difficult to read, it's less likely that they will be read? Certianly, even the policy is to review absolutely everything, most people under time pressure will do what is the easiest to get the job done? For most, that's just human nature - but it's done that way? I think the other important issue is the learning curve that goes along with any new system or way of doing business? So, by now, the raters should be better schooled on VBMS and maybe it's living up to the original expectations that were set by congress for approving the funding? Frankly, as long as it helps, and does not hurt Vets, it's going to be fine-I think? But, I'm still nervous with my own claim because despite two FOIAs to see my C-file and to try and confirm that they were digitised, I had to cancel both to keep my claim moving forward? So, I guess I have the same question too and am wondering "if my SMRs (like many other Vets do) were ever digitised this year and used for my claim?" Also, in terms of the digitisation process, what was lost in translation as clerks pulled large stacks of papers for claims apart to put them in machines to scan? Also, what about 2 sided SMRs and their treatment to enure "all" of the records were accurately captured to ensure that vets records were all digitised properly...to support their claims.....but with all of the said, the Rater still makes the "call" and what they actually consider as evidence anyway?

Edited by rootbeer22
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Thanks for the responses. As rootbeer pointed out there are issues with digitized claims. Did they scan "everything" in?

Did VA meet the deadline at all RO's? (unlikely..VA rarely meets deadlines).

Did the July deadline mean just new claims, old claims, appeals, or everything? I find it difficult to believe they got everything digitized..that is why I have a CD of mine so I know what they have, at least up until 2009. After that, its any ones game.

Rootbeer makes a great point...what about hand written medical reports..can the computer read them (probably not).

Also, how good is the rater trained at using the digitized records? Some people are better at searches than others.

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My c-file was scanned in 2007 for a FTCA claim. During a recent C&P exam, the examiner and the C&P administrative chief discussed my file being available in digital form. So, I suppose my entire file is now digitized.

My big concern, and it is a major concern, is what has happened to the actual paper documents? Have they been shredded? Sent out for recycling? Put back in the filing cabinet?

In my opinion there is only one proper and legitimate disposition of the actual paper: Immediately after scanning the entire c-file, box the paper file, burn a DVD of the scanned material and send it all to the veteran at the same time. I realize there is not a tinker's chance in hell that the DVA will do this, but it is the only legitimate way to deal with this.

We, Vietnam veterans, are rapidly becoming the largest cohort of veterans and the most expensive in terms of both treatment and compensation. We are also the pre-internet generation. In many cases, including mine, my only tools were a purloined U of Colorado Student ID card and a Xerox machine. A tremendous amount of evidence of malfeasance, missing claims and poorly adjudicated claims etc. etc. etc. will be swept away in an instant. How do you know the digitized claim file is complete if you don't have the paper file for comparison?

I am of the opinion that the DVA is a criminal enterprise and should be RICO'ed. Nearly every single day another example of institutional lying, cheating and stealing appears in the news. Those of us who have been around the system for decades know that these problems did not start during the past few years, but have been a constant throughout those decades. The system was built for, and by, WWII veterans to service the needs of that group of veterans; and it worked for THEM. WWII veteran's benefits collectively were the catalyst for the rapid expansion of our middle class and ushered in one, if not the, fastest and largest period of economic growth in the history of the nation. All of that ended with the WWII veterans. Since my father was one of those WWII veterans, my family benefited greatly from his benefits. He, and millions more like him in that generation, added to the clamor of accusing Vietnam veteran's of being whiners. After all, we were getting the same benefits as his generation, weren't we? When he finally realized/understood the paltry benefits we were receiving, he hit the roof! He had always been politically active, but this new found knowledge really drove him! As a result, when I ran into an administrative problem with the VA, he marshaled his political influence and had those problems resolved in my favor. In the last week of his life, he needlessly apologized one more time for not understanding and coming to my assistance earlier. God, do I miss him!

Neither my paper nor digitized claim files contain any mention of the many confrontations my father and I faced those many years ago. No mention of altered medical records or the reaction when our Congressional delegation were shown both the originals and the doctored (pun intended) copies. No mention of my assaulting a VA doctor in his office after he actually handed me a handful of two tablet sample packages of Tylenol and told me to go home after just having traveled almost 20 hours while experiencing wave after wave of the most intense pain known to medical science-then and now. (Once again I will strongly encourage NO ONE to follow my example with regard to the assault! It was only the influence of my father and the nefarious behavior of the VA that kept me out of federal prison. It's not worth it-so don't do it!!!) No mention of just how toxic my relationship with the VA became because of those two incidents nor how that toxic relationship doomed any chance of my successful vocational rehabilitation. In its era, the situation drew more political flak than the Phoenix scandal; but without the internet it was contained locally. No one lost their job back then either, even though altering those records constituted federal and state felonies and we were able to identify with complete certainty who had altered them AND who had ordered the destruction of the originals.

Now the DVA just gets to wash all of that miserable history away. It's a shame. I'm just one insignificant veteran among millions of brother and sister veterans who have even worse horror stories to tell, but never will have the chance; and the evidence will soon be destroyed if it hasn't been already.

My $.02!!

A shout out to bronco, if the RO didn't feel that it was necessary to provide the Asst. US Attorney who defended the VA during my FTCA with my entire c-file, I can guarantee you that "everything" won't get (or wasn't) scanned in.

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Recently got my c-file on cd, so my record has been digitized. Still do not trust the VA, as noticed that my cd is a redacted copy. Not everything in my paper c-file is on the cd. It is searchable, by key word, etc. Bad news is have about 15+pages that were scanned that are not readable. This is unacceptable, as not sure what is unreadable, but I would be willing to bet that it is something key to my claim. Why did the scanning process, not catch the un readable scans? More opportunity for the VA to screw the vets, IMHO.

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Digitized that would be grand. If only it were complete accurate record of your entire file. I had an experience with having my records in digital format. The VA wouldn't let me show them my evidence during my DRO hearing on my laptop. I even had it on a jump drive and still a no go. No electronic devices. Imagine that. Just as there is a way to game the system there will be ways to beat them at there own deadly game. JMO.

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