When soldiers separate from service, part of the process includes a physical examination, and now Department of Defense (DOD) officials are looking to make the process a bit more thorough. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki hope that a more comprehensive exam will eliminate issues with medical benefits and disability claims later on, according to Military Times.
Implementing a more comprehensive physical exam could avoid trouble stemming from an inability to connect disabilities with injuries sustained during service. Part of the issue is tied to poor record keeping, but over the last 10 years officials have been working on a joint DOD and VA system. This new initiative will help ensure that medically accurate records are kept in the first place.
"This will help ensure that if a service member wants to file a claim in the future, the VA will have the health information they need from DOD at their fingertips and more quickly process that claim," Panetta said at a joint press conference with Shinseki on Thursday.
The need for a more streamlined process is especially great now that military officials expect a large number of troops to separate from service in the coming years. In fact, around 300,000 soldiers will leave each year over the next four years.