The Veterans Affairs Department will expand its telehealth program, which already provided healthcare services to 700,000 veterans across the country.
The Veterans Affairs Department’s push to more easily fire employees charged with misconduct has found its latest target — the former director of the Washington, D.C. VA medical center.
Dr. David Shulkin inherited a Veterans Affairs Department only partway through a badly needed transformation. As secretary, he’s got a lot of tough constituents — Congress, a demanding president, veterans groups and veterans themselves. Shulkin discussed a number of pressing matters on Federal Drive with Tom Temin, starting with the consequences of new funding for the Veterans Choice program just approved by Congress. It extends veterans’ ability to obtain health care outside of the VA system. Just don’t call it privatization.
The House passed a last-minute bill Friday morning that will replenish the Veterans Choice Program with $2.1 billion in additional funds for the next six months. The additional Choice funds are crucial, as they buy lawmakers and the Veterans Affairs Department more time to redesign the program. But the legislation is also packed with new hiring flexibilities.
The House will vote this week on a bill that would replenish the Veterans Choice Fund with an additional $2 billion. But to offset the costs, VA would continue to collect housing loan fees and would trim pensions for some veterans living in nursing facilities that are covered under Medicaid.
According to the Veterans Affairs Department’s new reports detailing all major disciplinary actions for its workers, VA is on track to fire fewer people in 2017 than it has during the past six fiscal years. Federal employment experts say the new adverse action reports lack some significant details about VA’s efforts to improve accountability and transparency.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has posted its first list of employee removals, suspensions and demotions showing 525 VA staffers have been fired since President Trump took office in January.
The Veterans Affairs Department faces many challenges with its decision to abandon the Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) and adopt a commercial, off-the-shelf electronic health record. But with a high dollar amount and big stakes comes as even larger culture change, federal IT experts said.
The Veterans Affairs Department will immediately get rid of 71 vacant or nearly empty facilities. VA will eliminate another 71 buildings within the next six months. It’s part of the department’s long term effort to trim its inventory of outdated, underutilized or vacant buildings within the next two years.
In today’s Federal Newscast, the Defense Department is targeting procurement rules in response to President Trump’s executive order to evaluate existing regulations and recommend their repeal, replacement or modification.