VA Expect Changes to Better Maintain Records

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WESLACO – The Department of Veterans Affairs will soon move to a new system to store electronic medical records. The change is expected to streamline access between the military and the VA.

Veteran advocates in the Rio Grande Valley are anticipating the change will make it easier for veterans to access benefits they've earned.

Medical records for veterans are sometimes difficult to find.

“We’ve had situations where the veteran’s claim is being held up because we can’t obtain the records,” Hidalgo County Veterans Service Officer Felix Rodriguez said.

He said it can take months for military records to be passed on to VA hospitals.

“When a veteran comes to us, never filed a claim, we go directly to the National Personnel Records Center in Saint Louis, Missouri and request those records before we file a claim. So that we beat the VA to the records is what we’re doing, otherwise it’s going to take longer,” he said.

Last week, the VA announced they’ll be switching over to a new electronic medical records system. It’s the same one used by the Department of Defense.

“Hopefully, this will eliminate that red tape or the bureaucratic snafus,” Rodriguez said.

The change could take years for the new software to be in place.

The change will also make for a smoother transition of records from the Department of Defense to the VA. Those records are vital for veterans to apply for their health care to compensation and pension.

If you or a veteran you know is struggling with issues regarding the VA, Hidalgo and Cameron counties both have Veterans Service offices. You can also go to your U.S. Congressman for help.

Links for more information:

U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar

Congressman Filemon Vela

U.S. Congressman Vicente Gonzalez

Hidalgo County Veterans Service

Cameron County Veterans Service


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