Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) outlined their concerns with the Veterans Affairs Department in a letter to Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Meanwhile, current VA Secretary Bob McDonald said Congress has been the biggest barrier to true transformation at the VA.
President Barack Obama and senior administration leaders celebrated the achievements from the federal workforce over the past eight years. In his final days in office, Obama asked federal employees to think back to the moment they decided to join public service and encouraged them to continue their work as his administration leaves and another takes its place.
The Senate had a busy weekend, passing five major pieces of legislation that will impact veterans, inspectors general, FBI whistleblowers and others before the close of the 114th Congress.
The Veterans Health Administration has an elaborate planning process to come up with its strategic goals. Great, but headquarters might be getting in the way of the medical centers and other providers actually carrying them out. Debra Draper, director of health care issues at the Government Accountability Office, shares more on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Unless President-elect Donald Trump appoints two new members quickly, the Merit Systems Protection Board will likely have one voting member come March 1, when Chairman Susan Tsui Grundmann’s term expires. But the upcoming seat-changes have federal employment experts wondering whether this is the beginning of the end for MSPB.
A new omnibus veterans package cleared the House Tuesday afternoon, but it doesn’t address three controversial issues that both veterans affairs committees and the VA Secretary himself have spent the past year debating. That leaves a fix for the outdated veterans appeals process, an alternative or solution to the Veterans Choice Program and new accountability procedures to the 115th Congress and next administration.
The Million Veteran Program has collected blood samples for genetic analysis from more than 500,000 veterans so far, making it the biggest database of genetic material in the world.
The Veterans Affairs Department’s Million Veteran Program has collected blood from more than half a million veterans. It’s now the largest genomic database in the world. MVP hit the halfway mark in August, and is on track to hit its goal of 1 million veterans ahead of schedule. On Federal Drive with Tom Temin, Dr. Sumitra Muralidhar, MVP’s program director, gave Federal News Radio’s Lauren Larson a look at the program, how the data is managed and what she and her team hope to gain from the research.
More veterans trust the department now than they did two years ago, the Veterans Affairs Department said in a new report detailing its progress on Secretary Bob McDonald’s myVA Transformation.
About 71 percent of senior executives received a performance bonus from their agencies in fiscal 2015, a slight bump over the roughly 68 percent who picked up an award in 2014. A new report from the Office of Personnel Management shows the average award totaled $10,746, nearly $200 more than 2014’s average.
Federal employees with disabilities made up 14.4 percent of the workforce in fiscal 2015, an improvement over 2014’s 13.6 percent. Agencies also hired more employees with disabilities, 26,466 new hires compared with 20,618 new hires in 2014. The latest report from the Office of Personnel Management on the topic shows record disability hiring among agencies over the past 35 years.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is concerned about four agencies that had particularly high retirement processing error rates in September. The Social Security Administration and departments of Agriculture, Interior and Veterans Affairs topped the list. Congress now wants the Government Accountability Office to review the process that agencies and the Office of Personnel Management each use to review a retirement claim.
The Defense Health Agency is rationalizing the hundreds of medical devices, programs and applications within military hospitals to make sure that they first can achieve interoperability with the Pentagon’s new electronic health record. DHA Director Rear Adm. Raquel Bono said a new definition of “interoperability” is driving the department’s initial work with the EHR.
A carrot-and-stick approach works only when we reward the people who are making things happen.