The President, along with VA Secretary Shinseki and Defense Secretary Gates, announced that VA and DOD have taken the first step in creating a Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record – a comprehensive system that allows the streamlined transition of health care records between DOD and the VA. Both Departments will work together to define and build a system that will ultimately contain administrative and medical information from the day an individual enters military service throughout their military career, and after they leave the military. Creation of this Joint Virtual Lifetime Record will take the next step to delivering seamless, high-quality care, and serve as a model for the nation. At the announcement, President Obama said that the quality of care veterans receive should never be hindered by budget delays and that he had worked with Secretary Shinseki to support advanced funding of veterans medical care that will provide a timely and predictable flow of VA health care funding from year to year. He noted that his proposed budget for VA will:
  • Increase funding by $25 billion above baseline over the next five years.
  • Dramatically increase funding for veterans health care.
  • Expand eligibility for veterans’ health care to over 500,000 veterans who were previously denied care by 2013.
  • Enhance outreach and services related to mental health care and cognitive injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, with a focus on access for veterans in rural areas.
  • Invest in better technology to deliver services and benefits to veterans with the quality and efficiency they deserve.
  • Provide greater benefits to veterans who are medically retired from service.
  • Combat homelessness by safeguarding vulnerable veterans.
  • Facilitate timely implementation of the comprehensive education benefits that veterans earn through their dedicated military service.