Members of the Senate have reached a long awaited agreement on new accountability procedures for senior executives and employees within the Veterans Affairs Department. A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act Thursday morning. It would change current disciplinary appeals rights for both SES and rank-and-file employees.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld an appeal from Sharon Helman, the former director of the beleaguered Veterans Affairs medical center in Phoenix, Arizona, who was fired in 2014. The court said a key provision that lets VA more quickly fire and discipline senior executives is unconstitutional. The Merit Systems Protection Board will review the original decision an administrative judge made regarding Helman’s removal.
VA’s facilities planning processes leave it with millions of square feet of empty and decaying space.
One Veterans Affairs Department cybersecurity manager developed a program to reduce turnover and attrition. In fact she’s a finalist in this year’s Government Information Security Leadership Awards. Barbara Smith, information security director for VA’s Pacific District, joins Federal Drive with Tom Temin with more.
VA says it wants to significantly expand the health care services it offers through telehealth technologies — voice, video, instantaneous record-sharing — but it’s hampered by state laws that require providers to be licensed in the same states as their patients.
The executive order establishes the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protections as a new entity within VA. The new office will identify barriers and duplicative processes and resources to quickly disciplining and firing VA employees for poor performance or misconduct.
For the eighth year in a row, the Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs departments will partner with many private organizations to stage a health datapalooza. Greg Downing, executive director for innovation at HHS, tells Federal Drive with Tom Temin what HHS will bring to it, and what its goals are.
The Veterans Affairs Department soft-launched a new online tool that lets veterans search for VA medical facilities and their average wait times within a specific mile radius. VA said it’s a significant step in showing accountability and transparency efforts three years after wait time scandals in Phoenix shook up the agency’s leadership and organization.
A Veterans Affairs Inspector General report caused the agency to take immediate action and rethink who it put in charge of the Washington, D.C. medical center. The report detailed serious deficiencies in inventory management, including surgeries and other procedures being performed with expired or possibly non-sterile materials, or postponed due to a lack of supplies altogether.
The Veterans Affairs Department is only one of many major health care providers that use MUMPS. It could end up spending those billions to replace it with what it has already.
Foreign affairs imposed on the Trump administration. Treasury moved to sanction North Koreans believed to have military ties. Trump said the U.S. would take unilateral action in response to Pyonyang threats.
Veterans Affairs Department employees are now answering 99.8 percent of veterans’ calls to the VA crisis hotline, and fewer than 1 percent of those calls are rolling over to backup centers. But the VA Inspector General and lawmakers still see some troubling challenges.
On this edition of Columbia Technology Partner’s Ready to Prime, Allen Scott discusses the contracting landscape with two people who know it very well.
The Office of Personnel Management recently released a long-awaited report on official time for fiscal 2014. It found agencies used slightly more official time that year than fiscal 2012, the last time OPM completed a governmentwide report on the topic. The report’s release comes as Congress looks to limit federal employees’ official time use.