New VA tool helps verify Veterans’ mental health claims

Mental health claims can now be verified faster and easier thanks to the Official Military Activities Report (OMAR) – a new tool that allows VA employees quick access to significant activity (SIGACT) data used to verify combat and other military participation in what could be considered stressful events.

The idea for OMAR came about when Chris Aragao, a supervisory Veterans service representative at the Providence Regional Office in Rhode Island noticed it was taking a significant amount of time to get the necessary information from the Department of Defense. He figured if VA could get this data and map it, VBA could significantly reduce the claim development process time.

“The power of OMAR is that it puts information that is helpful during the claims process in the hands of VA employees, streamlining customer service and eliminating duplicative efforts,” said Aragao. “Employees are essentially given a database of known events that occurred during some of our nation’s key conflicts and are able to verify them seamlessly, without needing to liaison with additional Federal entities.”

Aragao formed a team of professionals who collaborated to design and develop the database that currently includes approximately 250,000 significant events in Iraq and around 500,000 events in Afghanistan.

These events can be filtered by time, location and type of event. The reports are then displayed on a map with all known attacks in the area. Thanks to OMAR, the claims development process time is reduced by an average of 60 day as VA

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