iVETS Act would create veteran internet health portal

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Rep. Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts introduced this week the Improving Veterans’ Electronic Transition Services Act (iVETS Act) to encourage the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create an internet-based portal for veterans to access their records and benefits information electronically.

The bill would model the web-based portal for veterans after the Defense Knowledge Online system. All active duty military members use the Defense Knowledge Online system to access their Official Military Personnel File, but they lose access to the system once they become veterans.

H.R. 5225 mandates that the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veteran Affairs jointly conduct a study on improving the access of veterans to files related to military service and veterans benefits.

Tsongas’ legislation would allow the DoD and VA to assess the feasibility of providing electronic access to information such as healthcare, service and benefits records, as well as create forums for veterans to talk to other veterans and care providers--a single-source communication channel for the VA to inform veterans about new programs and benefits. 

VA provides services and benefits to almost 8 million veterans; 4 million of those veterans have been added since 2001, according to a statement from Tsongas.