New leadership at the Veterans Affairs Department has its union, the American Federation of Government Employees, are hoping for better times ahead. VA is just one agency working to repair relations between unionized employees and their managers. Some unions within the National Council on Federal Labor Management Relations say agencies are shutting them out their meetings before making decisions. J. David Cox, president of AFGE, tells Federal News Radio’s Emily Kopp why pre-decisional involvement is important to unions and employees.
During an ongoing Veterans Affairs inspector general investigation, more than a dozen VA officials lied to investigators. Given what officials have learned so far, the practices that raised alarms in Phoenix are pervasive throughout the Veterans Health Administration.
The Veterans Affairs Department has ramped up referrals to private doctors in order to get patients the care they need more quickly. But several unions that represent VA employees argue, the uptick in referrals could signal a shift toward privatizing the VA. This all comes as Secretary Robert McDonald aims to fix how the VA treats its veterans following major reform legislation passed by Congress this past summer. Irma Westmoreland is a registered nurse and chairwoman of National Nurses United for Veterans Affairs. She joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive with her take on changes at the VA.
In this week’s edition of Inside the DoD Reporter’s Notebook, Jared Serbu examines news and buzz in the Defense community that you might have missed including: DoD-VA medical record sharing still too slow; VA kicks off new drive to hire docs; DISA plans follow-on to Encore II contract
A new report from the Merit Systems Protection Board says that it’s time for Congress to simplify the overly complex veterans preference laws to make sure they’re doing what Congress put them in place to do.
Almost 125,000 veterans die every year. The Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for laying them to rest with honor, and for that service the VA has the highest customer satisfaction rating of any organization — public or private — in the country. Ronald Walters is acting undersecretary for memorial affairs at the Veterans Affairs Department. He’s a Service to America medal finalist in the Management Excellence category. On In Depth with Francis Rose, he explained why the VA is so successful in this arena.
View a gallery of all the Sammies finalists.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations wants to know how agencies plan to dispose of and consolidate more than 7,000 federal properties worth $350 billion. On the same day, the FBI announced the finalists for the site of its consolidated relocation.
Robert McDonald’s confirmation as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs today may be the beginning of a new culture at the agency. Ethics is one aspect of that culture that Congress will be watching very closely. Linda Fisher Thornton is CEO of Leading in Context. She writes in Gov Exec about building an ethical culture in a Federal agency. On In Depth with Francis Rose, she explained what’s the same — and what’s different — about building that culture in government as compared to the private sector.
A report by the Veterans Affairs’ Inspector General’s office found that a regional supervisor stockpiled about 8,000 veteran-related documents, and that paperwork with sensitive personal information was poorly handled.
In examining the viability of the Senior Executive Service, House members called out the Veterans Affairs’ compensation program, with a pledge to introduce another piece of legislation to take back bonuses. The Senior Executives Association relayed concerns that talent is fleeing senior executive positions.
ASM Research won a three-year, $162 million contract to help modernize the electronic health records system at the Veterans Affairs Department. The VistA system has been at the center of a modernization and expansion debate for years.
Ford Heard, the Veterans Affairs associate deputy assistant secretary for Procurement Policy, Systems and Oversight, said his office will launch the acquisition corps and program management framework in the coming months to further professionalize the agency’s acquisition workforce. A Federal News Radio survey of chief acquisition officers and other senior acquisition managers says workforce training and retention remain among their biggest priorities and challenges.
Ford Heard, the Veterans Affairs Department’s associate deputy assistant secretary for Procurement Policy, Systems and Oversight, joins Federal News Radio for an online chat on June 30.
When a nurse manager at a Veterans Affairs medical center in Albany, New York, saw a patient being unnecessarily kept in restraints for seven hours, she couldn’t remain silent. But little did Valerie Riviello know that her actions as a whistleblower would start her down on a path of retaliation from her coworkers.