These Wounded Soldiers Need Lean To Get Their Benefits?
I've read about this problem before… and at the risk of this turning too political, I'm going to address the issue. Wounded U.S. soldiers are reportedly waiting too long to get the benefits to which they're entitled. In the case of one soldier:
Stevens' descent from Army private first-class, Iraq or , but with a headfirst fall over a wall on the obstacle course at . He suffered a head injury and spinal damage., 11 Bravo Company, began in 2005 â€” not in battle, since he was never sent off to
The injury alone didn't put him in a homeless shelter. Instead, it was military bureaucracy â€” specifically, the way injured soldiers are discharged on just a fraction of their salary and then forced to wait six to nine months, and sometimes even more than a year, before their full disability payments begin to flow.
That's shameful, injured vets living in homeless shelters.
Nearly 20,000 disabled soldiers were discharged in the past two fiscal years, and lawmakers, veterans' advocates and others say thousands could be facing financial ruin while they wait for their claims to be processed and their benefits to come through.
It sounds like they need a serious dose of Lean thinking. If they're “waiting” for claims to be processed, I can only guess that the “process” is plagued by:
- Departmental silos
- Long delays between steps in the process
- Long delays before decisions or approvals are done as a batch
- Poor processes that lead to missing information or missing paperwork
I'm speculating and, call me a cynic, I wouldn't be surprised if any of that is the case. I wonder how long it really takes to perform what you might call the “Value Added” steps in this process, which might include:
- Receive paperwork
- Verify status
- Finalize paperwork
- Start sending checks
If it takes SIX MONTHS to get this done, I bet most of that time is waiting and delay. The U.S. government needs to do better than that. Use Lean thinking, create value streams that are focused on flow (and quality) of focusing on departments, efficiency, and internal politics or battles. Focus on the “customer” of the process – the wounded soldiers. Come on, get it done. I read about this months ago…. let's get this process fixed. For shame…
The point, with this or any Lean improvements, wouldn't be “doing things faster” or cutting corners. One should be able to take significant time out of the process without being sloppy and giving benefits, for example, to just anyone who applied. Reducing delays before verification steps, rather than eliminating such safeguards, would be the “Lean” approach.