VA seeks comms support to fight claims backlog

WASHINGTON: The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking communications support for two of its units.

WASHINGTON: The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking communications support for two of its units.

The VA is searching for agency help for the Veterans Benefits Administration's office of corporate communications. The unit needs support for an effort called “VBA Transformation,” a multi-faceted initiative involving staff development, processes, and technology that aims to eliminate the increasing disability claims backlog by 2015.

Since 2008, VBA has experienced a 48% increase in disability claims receipts. It is anticipating that incoming claims volume will continue to grow steadily as more than 1 million troops leave active service over the next five years, according to the RFP. 

At the same time, veterans are claiming nearly triple the number of disabilities and medical conditions than earlier generations of veterans. The combined impact of these and other factors have resulted in a growing backlog of disability claims.

The winning firm will help VBA promote the transformation initiative and other activities by developing communications plans and media strategies, as well as responding to media outlets and other external stakeholders, according to the RFP. This work may include researching and gathering data and talking points in response to questions from reporters.

The selected firm will also need to develop a process to monitor and analyze coverage from VBA press engagements and provide analysis to its leadership. The agency will need to have the capability to develop audio and video communications products.

RFPs are due August 22 for the one-year contract. There is an option for an additional year.

The VA is also seeking support for its Human Factors Office. That unit is responsible for evaluating emerging health information technologies and determining whether the VA is effectively using them.

The winning firm will help the office produce communication materials, including briefing documents, wiki articles, newsletters, brochures, presentations, videos, and podcasts, according to an RFP.

The deadline for responses closed August 10. The RFP documents did not contain a contract length. A representative for the VA declined to comment on either RFP.

The VA hired District Communications recently to help with the rebranding of its VA Innovation Initiative (VAI2) to The Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation.

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