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.
Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) investigation into Veterans Affairs hospitals reveals widespread manipulation, criminal activity and poor management.
The House and Senate have appointed members to a conference committee on legislation to revamp the Veterans Affairs health care system. Regardless of how Congress ends up changing the structure to address long wait times for patients, the system will need more money for emergencies. That is one request from the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents many front-line VA employees. J. David Cox is the union’s president and a former VA nurse. He joined Tom Temin and Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to discuss how the problems at the VA are affecting the front-line employees.
Despite reports of delayed patient treatments, falsified records and preventable veteran deaths, the Department of Veterans Affairs said all of its 470 senior executives have been rated “successful” over the past four fiscal years.
The ratings have sparked outrage among members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, whose chairman called the performance rating and bonus system at the VA “outlandish.”
Legislation in the Senate would allow the Veterans Affairs secretary to dismiss members of the Senior Executive Service on the grounds of performance, and that could mean more appeal cases for the already-swamped Merit Systems Protection Board.
The director of the Phoenix VA hospital and two other employees are on administrative leave following allegations that the hospital delayed medical treatment to veterans. Note: they have not been fired. Legislation moving through Congress would make it easier for the VA secretary to give the boot to senior executives. Susan Tsui Grundmann is chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board, which hears appeals from federal employees on personnel issues. She joined Tom Temin and Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to explain how the law could change. Read related article by Federal News Radio’s Shefali Kapadia.
The problems at the Veteran Affairs Department continue to unfold. Meanwhile, the largest civilian agency lacks a Senate confirmed leader. We’ve seen this pattern before: troubled agency, departed leadership. Some come roaring back, some limp along. John Palguta is the vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service. He joined Tom Temin and Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to discuss how the VA can shape a more promising future.
The House and Senate have both passed bills to shore up the Veterans Affairs Department. Now they are in conference to reconcile. The final bill would give veterans more opportunities to seek care outside of VA hospitals, while beefing up the VA’s own medical staff. The Congressional Budget Office has scored the VA bill and estimates the expense of the additional care would be about $50 billion. Yevgeniy Feyman, fellow at the Manhattan Institute, joined Tom Temin and Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to discuss whether all the money will help.
The Veterans Affairs Department will try to address one major aspect of its patient scheduling scandal by looking to industry for help. VA is planning two major acquisitions in the coming months. Federal News Radio’s Executive Editor Jason Miller joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to discuss what VA is trying to do. Read Jason’s related article.
The first solicitation will address near-term fixes for the current application. The second one will look to commercial technology for a wholesale replacement of the scheduling application. VA says it will build off the contest it ran in 2013 where it awarded $3 million to competitors to develop VISTA-friendly scheduling software.
Leaders of both the House and Senate pledge to move quickly on legislation to help the Veterans Affairs Department treat the more than 100,000 vets who are either waiting months for medical appointments or have been unable to see a doctor. At a House hearing late last night, a top VA official apologized for the delays, calling them indefensible. Martin Matishak, staff writer at The Hill, joined Emily Kopp on the Federal Drive to discuss prospects for legislation and VA’s future.