With a budget in place for the rest of the fiscal year and a topline in place that makes most people think 2015 will be a lot like 2014, agencies are getting back to long-term planning and priority setting. One of the areas the Department of Veterans Affairs is setting its priorities for…is acquisition. Glenn Haggstrom, VA’s principal executive director of the Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction and acting chief acquisition officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, told In Depth with Francis Rose one of his major acquisition priorities for 2014 has actually been around for a while.
“Inside the DoD’s Reporter’s Notebook” is biweekly feature focused on news about the Defense Department and defense community as gathered by Federal News Radio DoD Reporter Jared Serbu.
The Blue Button Initiative started at VA as a way for veterans to more easily access their health care data. But, with the help of Presidential Innovation Fellows, the initiative is now enabling American people across the country to access their personal health records in a human-readable format. Federal News Radio examines the project’s greatest successes and where it’s headed next as part of our special report, Solving Our Nation’s Toughest Challenges: The Presidential Innovation Fellows.
The Veterans Affairs Department reduced the number of pending disability claims by 267,000 over the last year. Veterans are also waiting 119 days less than they did a year ago for their claims to be processed.
The Veterans Affairs Department promises to be “digital by default.” The new initiative seeks to provide better and faster service to veterans. The department is hiring experts from outside the government to build the technology to streamline offerings. Marina Martin, VA’s chief technology officer, tells Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp the effort goes beyond simply tackling the persistent backlog of disability claims.
Cash, drugs and science experiments are all part of VA’s fiscal 2015 budget request.
The departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security account for 94 percent of the growth in the number of civilian employees within the federal workforce, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.
Kenneth Siehr of the Department of Veterans Affairs wins this year’s SAVE Award. His cost-cutting proposal involving mail-order prescriptions to veterans also saves time.
With the launch of VA Open Data, members of the public and applications developers will be able to access non-sensitive, non-personal information from the Veterans Affairs Department.
Documents obtained by Federal News Radio show VA’s financial audit found material weaknesses, including the failure to remove terminated employees from accessing the network, and the lack of a formal process for monitoring, preventing installation and removing unauthorized application software on agency systems. House Veterans Affairs lawmakers continue to press VA to make changes to their cybersecurity posture more quickly. VA officials say they have a multi-layered defense to include outside network monitoring by external partners, active scanning of Web applications and source code, and protection of servers, workstations, network and gateways, among other security efforts.
The Department of Veterans Affairs says it has made significant strides in targeting its most complicated disability claims toward its most seasoned claims processing staff, but IG audits still find errors in nearly a third of compensation claims processed for Traumatic Brain Injury.
With the partial government shutdown behind them, members of Congress are working on several bills that impact the federal workforce, including a resolution that supports ending the federal pay freeze and a bill that tackles the claims backlog at Veterans Affairs.
At a recent health IT demonstration, the Veterans Affairs Department showcased nine different technologies that it hopes will change how it delivers health care. The agency is testing medical mobile apps on iPads with 1,000 severely injured veterans.
Under intense congressional and media pressure, VA has moved aggressively to eliminate its backlog of new claims for disability benefits. But veterans who appeal VA’s decisions are still waiting years, on average.