Veterans Affairs

  • Kate Kidder: Blueprint for solving VA’s woes

    With one year before the next presidential election, it’s a safe bet the next administration will face challenges dealing with military veterans and with the still-troubled Veterans Affairs Department. Now the Center for a New American Security has come up with a comprehensive blueprint for the military and veterans community. Report co-author Kate Kidder shared some of the highlights with Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

  • VA’s small business program still faces ‘serious problems’

    VA’s Veterans First contracting program is making progress since a critical 2013 accountability report, but lawmakers say the agency could be doing more.

  • Emily Kopp: VA concedes it can’t meet vets’ health care by itself

    The Veterans Affairs Department is telling Congress how it’s going to meet veterans’ health care needs. The plan, due Sunday, stems from the patient care crisis that rocked the VA last year. At the heart of it is the admission that VA can’t do this all by itself as its new under secretary for health David Shulkin tells Federal News Radio’s Emily Kopp.

  • Nicole Ogrysko: VA CIO advances ambitious timeline for change, new cyber strategy

    The Veterans Affairs Office of Information and Technology has an aggressive timeline to change how it does business with veterans, industry and its employees. VA Chief Information Officer LaVerne Council is leading that charge. Her office has been working on a new enterprise cybersecurity strategy. And it’s managed to get a favorable early review from a skeptical Congress. Federal News Radio’s Nicole Ogrysko has more on what else the VA’s CIO wants to get done.

  • Demote your way to success

    Why push the down button on the career elevator? According to a report from the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs, two Washington-based senior executives used their clout to get what amounted to a demotion – one with fewer responsibilities but the same level of pay.

    The benefit of the demotion, according to the IG’s report, was that the two career SESers got to keep their Washington pay levels while transferring to lower pressure jobs in places with more winter sports and better cheesesteaks.

  • Gail Wilensky: Reviewing health reform at VA

    When scandals over scheduling and poor health care reached a boiling point in 2014, Congress acted. One of its mandates in the Veterans Affairs reform bill was a top-to-bottom review of VA’s organizational set-up and whether it was optimal for delivering health care consistently. That task fell to the non-profit Mitre Corporation. After it completed that work, Mitre convened a blue-ribbon commission to review its findings. Gail Wilensky was a co-chair of the commission. On the Federal Drive with Tom Temin, she describes the scope of the commission’s work, and by extension, how deeply Mitre dove in the VA.

  • Letter: Veterans Affairs leaders oversimplify problems

    In 1946, General Omar Bradley stated, while Administrator of the Department of Veterans Affairs, ‘We are dealing with veterans, not procedures; their problems, not ours.’ The VA long ago lost site of this aptly stated goal of the VA.”

  • Federal News Countdown: CIO on notice, Flight 93 memorial

    Roger Baker, former CIO at Veterans Affairs, and Tim Young, principal at Deloitte Digital, count down the week’s top federal stories with Francis Rose.

  • Emily Kopp: What VHA can learn from financial managers

    The Veterans Health Administration ran out of money this fiscal year. It was about to close hospitals before Congress stepped in to help. To make sure this never happens again, Dr. David Shulkin, VHA’s new leader, has told his chief medical officers to work closely with financial managers. Chief Financial Officer Kathleen Turco tells Federal News Radio’s Emily Kopp more.

  • Veterans Affairs’ new customer-service credo: Make employees happy

    Starbucks calls its employees “partners.” Disney has “cast members.” The Ritz-Carlton has “ladies and gentlemen.” The VA’s new Chief Veterans Experience Officer Tom Allin says the department also needs to see its workers in a new light.

  • VA’s ongoing problems started at the top, and they can end there

    Taxpayers pay for two Veterans Affairs Departments, says Federal Drive host Tom Temin. There’s the good VA, which reduces its backlog of disability claims. The bad VA continues to struggle with management problems.

  • Veterans Affairs to launch a solution to its 1,000-website problem

    The Veterans Affairs Department launches Vets.gov, a digital doorway to help organize online resources for veterans.

  • McDonald’s VA Web concept reveals real customer service challenge

    Exclusive: The Veterans Affairs Department Secretary’s idea to create “Veterans.gov” is so good, the Labor Department already did it.

  • VA wants to make itself more customer-focused, starting with its IT systems

    Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald says he’s baffled by the way the federal government tends to separately brand each one of its IT offerings, especially its public-facing ones.