The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announces the awarding of $6.8 billion in contracts to five firms, with the aim of improving the Medical Disability Examination process for Veterans.

The award, which comprises 12 contracts among the five firms, are intended to help the firms reduce Veterans’ wait times for examinations for service-connected benefits, thereby providing faster claims decisions in a more efficient and streamlined way.

According to a media release from the VA, the firms include: VetFed Resources Inc, Alexandria, Va; Logistics Health Inc, La Crosse, Wis; Medical Support Los Angeles, A Medical Corporation, Pasadena, Calif; QTC Medical Services Inc, Diamond Bar, Calif; and Veterans Evaluation Services Inc, Houston.

“This is good news for Veterans who are waiting for VA to determine whether a condition can be considered service-connected,” says VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald, in the release. “For these Veterans, we want the process to be smoother – from beginning to end. When we announced the MyVA initiative in 2014 to improve Veterans’ experience with VA, that meant looking at every process and every product. These awards represent a way for us to improve a significant process for Veterans.”

The contracts are being awarded for 12 months with four 12-month options, with an aggregate ceiling of $6.8 billion. The contracts will be managed by VA’s Strategic Acquisition Center based in Frederick, Md, per the release.

[Source: Department of Veterans Affairs]