At a hearing of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee yesterday, National Archives executive William Bosanko testified about the truly massive backlog of paper waiting to be electronically scanned in the VA’s bid to go “paperless.” Nextgov relates:
Bosanko estimated the department would have to scan 60 million pieces of paper a month so that records could be used with the Veterans Benefits Management System — a feat that would require a staff of 4,000. He did not say how long the process could take.
4,000 additional staff scanning paper! That’s a big number – more than the entire staff of GAO, for example. It’s also worth noting that the estimate comes just as the contract between National Archives and VA to do the work is expiring. That 4,000 figure sounds like the parties are negotiating. And, as usual on the Hill, there’s plenty of high profile hand-wringing. Committee member Rep. Gus Bilirakis:
“Secretary Shinseki estimates that more than 1 million veterans from Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom are expected to enter VA. What will happen to the backlog then? Will veterans be stuck in the system indefinitely? It is time for VA to uphold its responsibility, to our veterans and to the American people, to break this cycle of unproductively and deliver the benefits that VA was created to provide…Every one of these claims represents a veteran and their family patiently waiting, not just a stack of paper on a bureaucrat’s desk.”