In the last decade, I have been fascinated by just how long it takes to have your number called in VA Poker. In the pre-VBMS days of 1989, it took from July to October to get the shiny onion skin denial. I had a BVA denial in my hot little hands by March 15, 1992. In 1994, it took from April Fool’s to November 7th to get my lovely blue sheet and thirty more days to get the SOC on January 7th, 1995. Things moved right along back then. All-paper c-files. Manual readout of the M 21 in paper as well. Who could improve on a system like that?
I had even theorized, as I did on a “fully developed Appeal” at the BVA, that eventually, VA would sink up to its axles someday in paper or gigabytes of information. At that time, and not a moment before, they would finally call in outside support. Remember, they couldn’t even integrate a common computer system with the Dept. of Defense to smooth the transition from military service to Veteran status. All these years their in-house IT gurus kept regurgitating bandaids and fixes to XP to keep it alive twenty years longer. They succeeded. Unfortunately, everyone knows the back door in by now and can enter and “remodel history” as they did when they were caught in flagrante delicto in Gene Groves VACOLS files down in DC. Getting into VISTA at VA is childsplay for a good hacker now.
VA’s newer computer systems carry forward the same myopic need vs. size misconception like looking through a pair of binoculars backwards. Bandwidth is the name of the game these days and VA prefers to use two wires and Morse code. One of the primary reasons VBMS isn’t catching air and making claims as fast as a speeding bullet is that all-critical response time. Now throw in about four more computer systems, all antiques like CAPRI, and hum Jeopardy Music. I swear the 1990s “dial-up” internet connections of old were faster.
My Daddy (and probably quite a few others) used to say “To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” If you or I were stuck in an electronic jungle of antique programming, we’d motor on down to Office Depot and have some snot-nosed pimple popper sell it all to us. We’d smartly get the number for tech service to the tech weenies. If you’re VA, ostensibly you’d put in a call to 3M or Xerox and say “What’s the best way? Better yet, how much would it cost for you to build it?” Bids would go out. Promises would be made and gifts would be exchanged in Vegas. In the twinkling of an eye, a robust, viable VBMS would have emerged that could digest even my 10,078 pages (and counting) of c-file in a gigasecond. Room for add ons would be like a empty gymnasium instead of a walk-in closet.
Apparently, Secretary Bob was finally apprised that not only was VA not going to be able to fire their way to excellence, but that VBA was never ever going to hire their way to excellence either. After USB Allison Hickey’s failed deadline lo these 40 days past, the defecation has finally contacted the rotary oscillator. The in-house IT gurus, ably led by former Maj. Gen. (ret) Rob Worley, are finally texting each other- #VASESLIVESMATTER. No more bandaids. No more patches. No more fixes. No more M 21 1MR Amended (improved as of Feb. 2016) computer guides to lead you a denial. Shit or Get Off the Pot Day finally arrived and the boys were found constipated with poor solutions.
JIM DANDY TO THE RESCUE
So what should my wondering eyes come across on some backwater right wing conspiracy site? Yessiree, Bob. Secretary Bob is letting the contract out for a new “improved” VBMS because VA’s ain’t working folks. Using the new VBMS toilet plunger at the VAROs to push DBQs and FDCs along at lightspeed has now simply resulted in a call to Roto-Rooter® to take it from there.
Here’s the article on it. If it was any more sparse, we need an electron microscope to view it. I’ve never heard of CSRA let alone SRA International but apparently the Government has. Makes you wonder who made the call. What’s even more interesting is how much did it cost in wasted man hours and stupidity/micromanagement to realize they were in over their heads?
SRA International will repair the system. It will deny even more efficiently and in less time than before. Expect a spate of new VBMS-oriented forms to emerge in mass quantities. Failure to use the correct one will result in rejection of the form until it is filled out and entered correctly. DBQs will be constructed for every disease/injury known to man. Vets will have to hire Sherpas to find their way. Nonadversarial will be the banner logo.
From the news blurb
SRA staffers in Kentucky and Georgia will work to convert the benefits claims into digital content and help mail handler services upload the huge volumes of files into the Department of Veterans Affairs’ benefit management system.
Shooo doggies. This is going to be a fun show. VA’s been remodeling since 2009. Wonder what kind of aces these fellers have up their sleeves?