Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Eliminates Manual Processes with Robotics
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is using robotics to eliminate the manual processes involved in delivering health care reimbursement to veterans in partnership with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).
The VHA serves 9 million enrolled veterans each year, providing top grade health care and the means to get that care through reliable customer service. The methods of getting health care usually come through Veterans Affairs (VA) Travel Pay, also called reimbursements. VA travel pay reimbursements pay eligible veterans and caregivers back for mileage and other travel expenses to and from approved health care appointments, including meals and lodging.
As with all federal benefits payments, veterans can get their reimbursement in three ways: paper check, direct deposit or on the Direct Express® Debit Card Mastercard, but electronic payments enable veterans to have their payments faster, safer and more reliably.
The Federal Reserve Banks act as fiscal agents and depositories for the federal government when required to do so by the Secretary of the Treasury. As a fiscal agent, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas regularly monitors the VA Travel Pay program to increase the electronic enrollment of all federal payments.
To enroll for reimbursements, a veteran can visit or call their regional Veterans Integrated Services Network (VISN) and provide their personal VHA information (i.e., name, address, dob).
A VISN employee, then sends the veterans’ information to the Federal Bank of Dallas for enrollment. Although each of the 18 VISNs emailed their enrollments, the review and process of each enrollment was time consuming, repetitive, and involved intensive manual work resulting in a bureaucratic nightmare. This part of the enrollment process often led to disastrous manual intervention, which resulted in decreased accuracy and decreased business efficiency.
With a goal to provide outstanding customer service to our nation’s heroes, the VHA partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas to identify an automated process to improve accuracy and business efficiency.
The Federal Bank of Dallas identified the pain points that the Veterans Hospital cashiers were experiencing and streamlined the process through training the VISNs on the Robotics Processing Automation (RPA) requirements. Simply put, RPA or “Bot” refers to software that can easily be programmed to do basic, repetitive tasks across applications – the perfect automated solution to VHA’s enrollment application. The Bot can emulate the human execution of a business process. It opens applications, clicks, and types just as a human would.
The benefits of using Bot technology generated positive results. Each VHA enrollment could now be finished in 24 hours, compared to the old method which took 3 -5 days. Validation of each enrollment was cut to 10 seconds for each transaction, compared to the old method which took 7 – 10 minutes.
The Bot improved the accuracy measures for Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. One example was eliminating the manual process to verify VHA enrollment data - the Bot now does that. The Bot also allows for automated tracking of enrollment data by sending confirmation to Dallas when the VHA data is sent to the VISN, and also allows Dallas to track successful transmissions. The VISNS are reaping huge benefits from Bot technology: One VISN stated “we appreciate the automated process!” Another VISN stated “we appreciate the training provided and efforts made to expedite our requests.”
In the end, it’s our nation’s heroes who reap the benefits of faster-safer-convenient receipt of and access to essential medical travel reimbursements.