The Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) signed an agreement this week to implement cooperative separation processes and physical examinations for the service members at discharge sites. This initiative builds upon the 26 individual benefits delivery at discharge sites that have existing agreements, many of which date from the mid-1990s. Both departments are committed to a seamless transition process for service members.
In a memorandum of agreement (MOA), David S.C. Chu, under secretary for defense, personnel and readiness, and Gordon H. Mansfield, veterans affairs deputy secretary, agreed on several key issues for separation and disability evaluations. The examination process includes providing adequate medical resources (examining physicians, laboratory facilities, examination rooms, and support staff) and additional testing and/or screening.
The departments also agree to begin exploring the technical feasibility, schedule, and cost requirements for the implementation of an electronic physical exam, through a single, consistent electronic physical examination record, which will meet military service and VA requirements. To fulfill such requirements in the past, service members underwent two physical examinations within months of each other when service members filed for VA disability compensation. Neither of the examinations fully satisfied the needs of both VA and DoD. These redundant examinations inconvenienced service members, delayed claims processing and access to VA healthcare, and created an added cost to the federal government. This MOA helps to streamline the process without compromising the gathering of information critical to both departments.
This memorandum of agreement is one of many initiatives undertaken by the two departments to create a more seamless process for service members to access benefits.