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• Rep. Mike Michaud, ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, expressed disappointment in the Department of Defense (DoD) announcement that it will put out to bid for a new system to manage its health records. Mr. Michaud and his Republican and Democratic colleagues on the committee sent a letter recently to President Obama urging him to show leadership and end the bureaucratic back and forth on records, which has a direct impact on veterans’ claims with the VA and potentially their health.

“I’m disappointed in this decision prior to the Memorial Day weekend. It appears to back an interoperable approach over an integrated one. An integrated electronic health record is something that Congress mandated years ago and has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars on. Delaying the delivery of a seamless information sharing system runs directly against congressional intent, and ultimately hurts our veterans,” he said.

Information the committee received from VA stated that annually 100,000 to 150,000 veterans are affected by delays in DoD providing records.

“The Defense Department shouldn’t downplay the impact their records system has on the ability of our veterans to get a timely decision on their claim. They are part of the problem, and they need to be part of the solution. It’s disappointing that the Defense Department appears to be abandoning veterans twice—first in backing away from an integrated health record and then by washing their hands of their responsibility to help veterans get the benefits they deserve in a timely manner.”

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or email sgtshaft@bavf.org.