The Red Tape Diaries - A Modernized Department of Veterans Affairs

Aired:  04/04/13 Views: 5,920

Technological advances at the Department of Veterans Affairs bring the organization into the 21st month of the 1970s. (5:28)

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

IF YOU HAVE A -- WHAT DO YOU CALL IT THERE LIKE A DVR?

LAST WEEK AT THE TALKED ABOUT PROBLEMS OCCURRING AT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION OFFICE

PROCESSING CLAIMS AND SUCH.

WE NOW CHECK IN WITH AN UPDATE IN THE NEW SEGMENT.

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

[LAUGHTER]

PREVIOUSLY ON RED TAPE DIARIES.

>> THE NUMBER OF VETERANS WAITING MORE THEN A YEAR FOR THEIR BENEFITS JUMPED FROM

11,000 IN 2009 TO 245,000 THIS PAST DECEMBER.

THAT'S A MORE THAN 2,000 PERCENT INCREASE.

>> THEY KEPT LOSING MY MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION.

I WAS HANDING IT OFF AND SOMEBODY WOULD LOSE IT.

>> 97% OF V.A. DISABILITY CLAIMS ARE ON PAPER.

IN THE YEAR 2013 97% ARE STILL ON PAPER.

>> Jon: COME ON!

IT WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE PHARAOHS.

WHAT RE GOING TO USE SHEEPSKIN, CLAY TABLETS LIKE WE'RE BRONZE AGE SCHMUCKS HERE.

COME ON.

THIS IS THE V.A.

THE INEFFICIENCY IS ONLY ONE ASPECT TO IT BUT THERE'S A MORE IMMEDIATE PROBLEM.

>> THE V.A. RELIES PRIMARILY ON PAPER DOCUMENTS.

AT ITS CENTER IN WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA, THE TREMENDOUS WEIGHT OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF

CLAIMS THREATEN TO COLLAPSE AN ENTIRE FLOOR OF THE BUILDING.

[ LAUGHTER ]

>> Jon: IS THAT THE V.A. OR AN EPISODE OF HOARDERS?

[LAUGHTER]

BY THE WAY, DID YOU SEE IN THE CLIP -- DID YOU SEE HOW THEY FIGURED OUT THAT THE FLOOR WAS BUCKLING?

THEY USED THE iPHONE LEVEL APP.

OH, YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE THAT IPHONE HAS?

32 GIGABITES OF DIGITAL STORAGE.

DON'T PUT THE PHONE ON THE ROOM, BUT THE ROOM ON THE (bleep) PHONE.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

GOTTA BE AN APP FOR THAT.

[ LAUGHTER ]

THAT WAS LAST SUMMER.

I AM PLEASED TO REPORT THAT THE V.A. HAS TAKEN STEPS TO FINALLY MODERNIZE THIS WINSTON-SALEM FACILITY.

>> WORKERS JUST FINISHED INSTALLING THIS FILING SYSTEM LAST MONTH.

IT ALLOWS THE V.A. TO STORE MORE FILES IN A MORE ORGANIZED AND SMALLER SPACE.

>> Jon: REALLY A HAND CRANK?

IT'S A HAND CRANK?

WELL CONGRATULATIONS YOU BROUGHT THE V.A. INTO THE 21ST MONTH OF THE 1970S.

I'LL FIND YOUR FILE.

THAT'S HOW THEY DO THINGS ON -- WRONG WAR.

WHAT IS THE TOP MAN AT THE V.A.

A GENERAL ERIC SHINSEKI HAVE TO SAY FOR HIMSELF?

>> WHO DO YOU THINK IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHERE WE ARE TODAY AND THE FRUSTRATION THAT

SO MANY VETERANS ARE FEELING?

>> YOU ARE SPEAK TOGETHER INDIVIDUAL THAT HAS THAT RESPONSIBILITY.

>> Jon: DID YOU JUST USE SIX WORDS TO SAY ME?

[LAUGHTER]

NO WONDER THINGS TAKE FOREVER OVER THERE.

I WILL BE THE INDIVIDUAL WHO WILL BE PROCESSING.

THE CLAIM THAT YOU HAVE -- AT LEAST NOW FOUR YEARS INTO HIS TENURE HE IS ON THE PROBLEM.

WHAT IS THE PLEDGE PLAN?

>> THE V.A. PLEDGES TO ELIMINATE THE LONG WAITS BY THE END OF 2015.

>> Jon: YOU GET THAT THAT IS A LONG WAIT, SNRIET UNLESS YOU ARE TALKING MILITARY TIME AS IN 2015

AS IN 8:15 TONIGHT.

I'M GOSS TO GUESS EVEN THE 2015 YEAR DATE IS OPTIMISTIC JUDGING BY THIS CLIP.

>> CHUCK HAGEL RECOMMENDED COMPUTERIZING THE FILES.

>> Jon: 1982, SOMEWHERE IN A BASEMENT AT THE V.A. THERE'S A GUY HAMMERING AT A TRS80.

[ LAUGHTER ]

AND HE'S ALMOST THERE.

[ LAUGHTER ]

MORE POWER!

YOU KNOW WHAT THE V.A. NEEDS?

SOME KIND OF RAPID RESPONSE CRISIS TEAM EMPLOYEES WHO ARE NOT PHASED BY CHAOTIC

ENVIRONMENTS, MAYBE COULD THINK QUICK ON THEIR FEET AND MIGHT BE LOOKING FOR WORK AT THIS MOMENT.

THAT'S AN IDEA HIRE STREET -- VETERANS TO REVAMP THE V.A.

IF YOU ARE WONDERING WHAT TO ASK HOME IT DO MAYBE START WITH FIND AND PROCESS YOUR OWN FILE.

OR MAYBE THEY COULD GO TO PLAN B, CHANGE OF LEADERSHIP.

I'M THINKING --

[LAUGHTER]

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

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