The U.S. Defense Department can wage war all over the world and develop high-tech weapons capable of smiting enemies, but apparently it cannot build a computer system to share files with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
After spending a minimum of $1.3 billion on the new system, the two departments still cannot access each other’s records, leaving a steadily growing mountain of veteran disability claims waiting for review. The Defense Department also spent $2 billion on an equally unsuccessful bid to upgrade its current digital health records system, NBC News reports.
In 2011, the departments began collaborating on a new single system that would combine and integrate their records. But that effort was cancelled earlier this year for unspecified reasons. Now the departments plan to enhance their internal record systems. They say they will eventually develop a software solution to permit record-sharing.
The Pentagon is under pressure from Congress to devise a file-sharing system, but lawmakers have seen little progress so far. One congressman has chided the departments for producing only “a litany of excuses” about the failure to devise a working system.
While the government scrambles to find a workable solution, veterans are the ones paying the price. Last year, veterans waited an average of 206.7 days to have their health records and other evidence relating to disability claims processed.
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