VCS Expresses Concern about End to VA Data Report

(Washington, DC – June 9, 2017) — In a news story published this week, Veterans for Common Sense expressed concern regarding plans by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to end a national data report used internally and by veterans advocates to monitor progress achieving timely processing of veterans disability claims.

According to the Boston Herald story, the VA “has stopped updating a performance database that charts error rates at local offices — a system vets advocates say was a useful tool to hold the agency accountable, including at the Boston office.”

“The system, called ASPIRE, was introduced with fanfare in 2010 as a way to hold the VA up to a higher standard for avoiding the kinds of errors and oversights that cause wounded ex-warriors to get inaccurate disability ratings, denying them vital compensation.”   (“VA ditches error-rate database,” Boston Herald, June 6, 2017, Jack Encarnacao reporting).

VCS is quoted in the story:

“The ASPIRE report is just a very nice way to summarize some of the top-level data,” said Anthony Hardie, director of the D.C. advocacy group Veterans for Common Sense. “The ­ASPIRE report should not be going away unless it’s replaced by something better and far more comprehensive.”

“If we suddenly have the VA locking down data and not providing it anymore for whatever reason, then very quickly veterans are negatively affected,” Hardie said.

The VA announced ASPIRE in November 2010 as “part of the continuing effort of the federal government to become more transparent and accountable to the public.” In a post on its website announcing the system, the VA declared the “implications for the ASPIRE data reside in tomorrow, not today.”

According to the Herald reporting:

“Given how little ASPIRE has been used the last two years by our external customers, VA has no plan to repopulate it,” [a VA] spokeswoman said, pointing to a weekly VA summary, the Monday Morning Workload Report, that contains similar data. “Rather, we are considering other graphical approaches together with a possible modernization of the Monday MMWR.”

Read the full story here:

Read the full story as published in Government Technology:

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