In Tuesday’s federal headlines, a new report from the Government Accountability Office says the Department of Defense is falling behind on the plan to shrink its civilian workforce
Ron Walters, interim Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, VA
He’s spent decades in federal service, on both the financial management and program sides. Now Ron Walters of the Veterans Affairs Department has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. The Acting Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Veterans Affairs now is overseeing the department’s memorial and cemetery activities. He fills in Federal Drive with Tom Temin on the latest.
A bill recently passed by the Senate aims to make agency management more accountable for programs that run over budget and behind schedule.
Given the VA’s past performance, the House Veterans Affairs Committee said it’s worried about the implementation, timeline and budget for the new Veterans Choice Program. The VA said it will tap into the expertise of private medical providers to help meet the growing demand for veterans health care.
Think health IT and what comes to mind? Doctors pulling up your health record at a visit? You, downloading your medical information? Probably with the Blue Button — a federal invention? Nearly all hospitals and doctors’ offices use health technology in some fashion thanks largely to a big push from the federal government. Dr. Jon White is deputy national coordinator for health IT, the office charged with taking the initiative to the next level. On Federal Drive with Tom Temin, he spoke with Federal News Radio’s Emily Kopp.
As agencies with crucial missions stumble out of mistakes, don’t forget to celebrate the small victories.
The nominee for the Office of Inspector General for Veterans Affairs is set to appear Nov. 17 before a Senate committee to answer questions and talk about the oversight role.
With one year before the next presidential election, it’s a safe bet the next administration will face challenges dealing with military veterans and with the still-troubled Veterans Affairs Department. Now the Center for a New American Security has come up with a comprehensive blueprint for the military and veterans community. Report co-author Kate Kidder shared some of the highlights with Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
VA’s Veterans First contracting program is making progress since a critical 2013 accountability report, but lawmakers say the agency could be doing more.
The Veterans Affairs Department is telling Congress how it’s going to meet veterans’ health care needs. The plan, due Sunday, stems from the patient care crisis that rocked the VA last year. At the heart of it is the admission that VA can’t do this all by itself as its new under secretary for health David Shulkin tells Federal News Radio’s Emily Kopp.
The Veterans Affairs Office of Information and Technology has an aggressive timeline to change how it does business with veterans, industry and its employees. VA Chief Information Officer LaVerne Council is leading that charge. Her office has been working on a new enterprise cybersecurity strategy. And it’s managed to get a favorable early review from a skeptical Congress. Federal News Radio’s Nicole Ogrysko has more on what else the VA’s CIO wants to get done.
Why push the down button on the career elevator? According to a report from the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs, two Washington-based senior executives used their clout to get what amounted to a demotion – one with fewer responsibilities but the same level of pay.
The benefit of the demotion, according to the IG’s report, was that the two career SESers got to keep their Washington pay levels while transferring to lower pressure jobs in places with more winter sports and better cheesesteaks.
When scandals over scheduling and poor health care reached a boiling point in 2014, Congress acted. One of its mandates in the Veterans Affairs reform bill was a top-to-bottom review of VA’s organizational set-up and whether it was optimal for delivering health care consistently. That task fell to the non-profit Mitre Corporation. After it completed that work, Mitre convened a blue-ribbon commission to review its findings. Gail Wilensky was a co-chair of the commission. On the Federal Drive with Tom Temin, she describes the scope of the commission’s work, and by extension, how deeply Mitre dove in the VA.
In 1946, General Omar Bradley stated, while Administrator of the Department of Veterans Affairs, ‘We are dealing with veterans, not procedures; their problems, not ours.’ The VA long ago lost site of this aptly stated goal of the VA.”