Two locations typify the ongoing management issues at the Veterans Affairs Department. Fresh investigations by the VA inspector general show what went wrong with the replacement hospital under construction near Denver and how the department wasted nearly $1 billion and scheduling problems continue to plague the Phoenix medical center. VA Inspector General Michael Missal share the details on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
The bill contains a number of provisions that most advocates for the federal workforce consider to be a substantial lessening of civil service protection.
When you spend $20 billion of taxpayer money a year, inefficient and unnecessarily complex are not the adjectives you want to hear for how you do it. But that’s what the Government Accountability Office has revealed about the Veterans Affairs Department.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee wrote to the Justice Department, asking that DOJ investigate whether VA officials lied before Congress when they testified about ongoing schedule and cost overruns for new medical center in Denver. A new report from VA’s inspector general slammed the department’s leadership for making poor decisions about the hospital’s construction that weren’t in the best interest of the veterans they hope to serve.
The Veterans Affairs Department is testing the idea of providing health care benefits to service canines used by veterans with mental health issues.
As more agencies begin to take a closer look at their customer service operations, some organizations, such as the Veterans Affairs Department and the Smithsonian Institution, are developing “customer journey maps” to better respond to consumer feedback and needs.
The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee took on the recommendations from the VA Commission on Care’s recent report on veterans health care.
The Veterans Affairs Department paid roughly $5 million to some employees to settle disciplinary actions, according to House VA Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.). VA made 208 settlement agreements with employees between July 2014 and the present. The department used monetary payouts to settle 72 percent of those cases.
The House is moving forward on a bill that would shorten the time in which Veterans Affairs employees and senior executives could appeal disciplinary actions and removals. The VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016 also includes provisions that would change the veterans’ appeals process, but the bill is drawing ire from the Obama administration, House Democrats and federal employee groups.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee also discussed several of the recommendations from the VA Commission on Care’s report. Lawmakers generally agreed with the majority of the 18 suggestions, but issues of leadership at the Veterans Health Administration will likely be the sticking point in future debates over VA transformation.
The Obama administration said it agreed with most of the VA Commission on Care’s recommendations to improve veterans health care, adding that the department had started efforts to implement many of them already. President Barack Obama said he disagreed with three of the 18 suggestions.
In Omaha, Nebraska, private donors are ready and waiting to donate up to $80 million to help build a new veterans clinic that would serve as a pilot for community-based public-private partnerships with the Veterans Affairs Department. Trouble is, that’s illegal. Under current law, VA can’t accept private donations for construction projects. Rep. Brad Ashford (D-Neb.) ,the co-sponsor of legislation that would change that, talks with Jared Serbu on Federal Drive with Tom Temin about the partnership community leaders are envisioning in Omaha
Since 2014, when Veterans Affairs Department reform legislation became law, the VA has been expanding its network of outside health care providers. The Choice Program recently underwent a major review. Dr. Baligh Yehia, assistant deputy undersecretary for health at the Veterans Health Administration, talked about the changes and what’s still ahead on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
One year into a pilot with the Veterans Affairs Innovators Network, the department has made investments into 38 projects and ideas that teams of VA nurses, doctors and other rank-and-file employees have developed at eight medical centers around the country. More than 40 other VA medical centers submitted applications asking to join the Innovators Network.