The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today it has eliminated paper signature requirements for military veterans wishing to enroll in VA healthcare. That door was opened through an amendment to its regulations.
The action falls on the heels of a recent announcement that beginning June 30, 2016, veterans applying online for healthcare would be directed to health care application on vets.gov. Unlike the online 10-10EZ and previous applications, this form does not require special software to open. The VA had reported the previous applications had proved themselves both frustrating to the veteran and time-consuming to VA employees because it required them to generate paper applications that were then manually entered into the VA’s eligibility verification and enrollment processing systems.
The announcement is expected to also help in accelerating enrollment of all combat veterans with pending enrollments as part of its ongoing Veterans Enrollment Rework Project (VERP). In March, the VA reported that one initiative of VERP involved overcoming the backlog of pending applications for about a quarter million, living veterans. Ostensibly, these applications failed to contain the necessary information needed to complete them. The VA is to contact these veterans to confirm their continued interest in enrolling in VA health care and ask them for the
necessary information to complete their application. Veterans will then have one year to provide the information before the record is closed and reapplication will be necessary. [Editor’s Note: The VA is not talking about the backlog on compensation or pension claims, and claims appeals, but instead another problem: the backlog on healthcare enrollments initially involving over a half million veterans, many of whom have since died.]
By adding this telephone application option to VA’s regulations with this amendment, VA will now offer three ways to enroll under 38 CFR 17.36(d)(1). This option provides veterans a particularly convenient third enrollment option in addition to the paper VA Form 10-10 EZ and the online health care application.
As of 5 July 2016