Government Success Story: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
The U.S. government’s second largest department chooses Microsoft Dynamics 365 to bring 6 critical services programs into a single system—creating a veteran-centric environment
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system, employing nearly 280,000 people at hundreds of facilities, clinics, and benefits offices across the country. The VA administers programs for 22.2 million veterans.
Since 1930, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs—or the VA—has been the agency responsible for ensuring military veterans and their families receive benefits, education, and other services. Accomplishing this mission involves many moving parts—programs, tools, and people in 50 regional offices around the world that touch the lives of each veteran at different points, depending on their needs.
It is a monumental task to coordinate these efforts, and until recently, the VA was attempting to manage it without a centralized case management software system.Specifically, case managers in six non-clinical programs in the Veterans Health Administration and the Veterans Benefits Administration were working with more than 100,000 seriously ill or injured veterans from Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation New Dawn (OND) conflict with health and benefit-related issues using the Veterans Tracking Application, a legacy system.
Unfortunately, each program’s data was in a silo, so there was limited visibility and communication between programs. Case managers from other programs were often assisting in the same or similar processes for the veteran due to lack of visibility across the programs, which caused confusion and poor customer service. Data required to service the veterans and their family members was being tracked in more than 13 source systems within the VA network, forcing case managers to spend unnecessary time searching for critical information to provide needed care and benefits information.
The VA needed a centralized system that would present “one view” of each veteran so that case managers from every program could utilize all the information, regardless of program, creating a seamless experience for the veteran. The system needed to:> Integrate with other agencies’ data and the VA legacy applications to improve care coordination by allowing case managers real-time access to data in one location> Create a single care plan that would allow case managers in multiple programs to collaborate and manage goals with the veteran, reducing duplication of effort and confusion.
- Automate common case management tasks, such as intake, assessments, eligibility, and case assignment, to reduce the amount of time spent by each case manager in a software application
- Enhance tracking and reporting capabilities, enabling case managers and program leadership to make more informed decisions and report the success of their program’s efforts
- Increase the transparency of services and benefits available to veterans through an interface that provides self-service access to their personalized care plan
The VA decided on Microsoft Dynamics 365 because of its ability to handle the complex requirements of case management, as well as its flexibility, scalability, and ease of use. Microsoft Dynamics 365 also offered process automation through its workflow engine and the ability to interface with other data systems. This provided a single user interface to the case managers, enabling them to provide care for their clients more effectively.
Microsoft then introduced HSO as a potential implementation partner because of HSO’s years of experience with Dynamics 365 and depth of knowledge in building case management solutions that support multiple lines of business or programs. The VA was also attracted to HSO’s collaborative approach to the provider/client relationship—their willingness to offer advice and feedback based on experience and expertise.
HSO built the Federal Case Management Tool (FCMT), replacing the majority of the Veterans Tracking Application, which was extremely costly to maintain. The first phase was a pilot program that migrated 45 case managers and their respective data on 1,500 veterans to the Dynamics 365 platform. The pilot program supported the joint Department of Defense/Veteran’s Affairs’ Federal Recovery Coordination Program (FRCP). This group of case managers provided lead support and coordination for both DoD and VA case managers working with seriously ill and injured service members, veterans, and their families as part of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND).
The FRCP case managers used FCMT for three months and provided feedback on the effectiveness and ease of use that would allow other programs to consolidate onto the platform. Through a series of coordinated phases and releases, HSO migrated data and released functionality to support the following programs within the VA:
- The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Liaisons for Healthcare
- The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Case Managers and Benefits Coordinators
- VBA outreach program coordinators from the Chapter 63 Outreach and Casualty Assistance
- Veteran Employment Services Office (VESO) coordinato
Through feature roll outs, the team was able to bring critical care information from 13 systems to the fingertips of case managers and provide self- service portal support to service members, veterans, and family members. FCMT also interfaced with the Department of Defense case management systems to provide case and client details for DoD case managers, which assisted in seamless transfer of care between the two agencies.
The FCMT solution now supports more than 1,500 case managers and other users who provide services and care to more than 100,000 seriously ill and injured veterans and service members worldwide. The system facilitates the tracking of case details and pertinent information to each of the programs and allowing them to easily share this information across programs, not only to preserve data integrity and accuracy, but to enhance the veteran’s experience. It provides increased efficiencies, significant cost savings in support, and an improved client experience through:
- Essential capabilities, such as rules, workflows, tasks, calendaring, alerts, and mapping, that are easily configured to meet specific program needs
- Consolidation of data systems, increasing efficiency and reducing redundant data entry and potential errors> A streamlined user interface with a familiar and optimized user experience
- The ability of veterans to view their personalized recovery plans through the eBenefits website> Ad hoc reporting, charts, and dashboards that assist in daily client management and performance metric monitoring
- Workflow automation that eases the process of data entry, case assignments, and determining eligibility
Due to its impact on bringing world-class care through case management, care coordination, and customer service to service members, veterans, and their families, the VA was recognized with the award for Industry Excellence in the Public Sector, acknowledging public organizations that achieve success using Microsoft Dynamics. HSO’s FCMT solution is part of that overall initiative, and the HSO team continues to work with the VA in modernizing their call centers and consolidating many line of business applications onto a single Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform.