VA Hospital in Big Spring Unveils New High Tech ID Badges

by Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - The VA Hospital in Big Spring is rolling out some new ID badges for their employee's but it's not your typical identification card.

The new high tech badges are supposed to reduce identity fraud and protect personal privacy.

The goal is to enhance security at federal installations across the U.S.

"The cards are really cool, they have an encrypted chip on the card," Mike McKinley, Information Security Officer at the VA Hospital in Big Spring, said.

But the information this little chip holds is very valuable.

"It will hold the fingerprints, it holds info about being a government employee, certifies that employee has a full background investigation," McKinley said.

The new ID badge will also allow employees to access information at every VA Hospital across the country and it reads like an ATM card.

"With the card, we can put our card in our key board, put in our pin number and it will authenticate us," McKinley said.

Right now, about a third of the employees at the VA Hospital in Big Spring have the new ID's, but everyone will have one by June.

The new cards are being funded by the VA in Washington.

"The card value is $50.00 a piece. For employees right now, it wont cost them anything," McKinley said.

Employees also plan to use the badges as keys in the future.

The government is requiring all federal agencies to upgrade their ID system.