VA’s Tech Budget Takes Hit; Shinseki Says IT Still ‘Key’

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, Photo:

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ 2012 budget request for technology has taken a hit compared to the department’s request last year.

VA is requesting $3.16 billion for IT for the coming fiscal year, which represents a decrease of about $3.3 billion from the 2011 budget request, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki told the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee this week, according to Bloomberg.

Part of the decrease was planned, Shinseki said, coming from a “sound business decision,” the department made last year to cancel one of its troublesome IT projects, a financial accounting system and data warehouse, Bloomberg reported.

But, while the department’s overall bottom line is smaller — a 4.5-percent reduction from 2010 levels — funding for specific programs is up. And, Shinseki said leveraging IT would continue to be a priority for the department.

IT “is not a supplementary function,” he said, according to Bloomberg. “It is key to the delivery of efficient, modern health care.”

VA’s paperless benefits-claim program will see a 21 percent increase in funding, to $183 million, Nextgov reported in February.

Overall, federal IT spending for 2012 will increase by about $1 billion, Bloomberg reported.

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