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Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said he supports Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin's moves to reform the department.
Restoring veterans' trust and mending gaps between the department's headquarters and its employees in the field are top priorities for Tom Bowman, the president's nominee to be the deputy VA secretary.
Senators have two very different proposals to redesign the Veterans Choice Program. Both pieces of legislation represent very different ideologies and sides of a debate that Congress, the Veterans Affairs Department, veterans service organizations and federal employee groups have been having for the past three years.
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.
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin offered the first glimpse of his plan to redesign the current Veterans Choice Program. He's calling it the Veterans' Coordinated Access Rewarding Experience (CARE) Program, and under the new initiative, veterans would no longer access community providers based on a set of arbitrary, administrative rules.
Members of the Senate have reached a long awaited agreement on new accountability procedures for senior executives and employees within the Veterans Affairs Department. A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act Thursday morning. It would change current disciplinary appeals rights for both SES and rank-and-file employees.
Some members of Congress are encouraged by a new solution to overhaul the outdated and lengthy appeals process for veterans. Members of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee introduced new legislation Tuesday that would create three paths for veterans to move more quickly through the appeals process. VA has roughly 470,000 claims pending as of April 1.
Since Michael Missal took over as inspector general at the Veterans Affairs Department about a year ago, his office has turned up some improvements, some deteriorations and the odd surprise.
David Shulkin, President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Veterans Affairs Department, earned high praise from the Senate committee during his nomination hearing. Changing the department's current Veterans Choice Program and crafting new accountability and disciplinary procedures for VA employees were common topics.
Election Day can be a whirlwind of campaign signs, crowded polling sites and an avalanche of social media posts. To help cut through the chaos, here's Federal News Radio's roundup of congressional races, presidential platforms and Hatch Act reminders.
The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee took on the recommendations from the VA Commission on Care's recent report on veterans health care.
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said the Veterans First Act, which the department itself is actively supporting, has hit a few roadblocks. He hasn't yet been able to bring the omnibus to a vote in the full Senate but said he is optimistic Congress will pass new veterans legislation this year.
Leaders at the Veterans Affairs Department pledge to Congress that the money and time they've been given to help overhaul the agency's IT systems will not be in vain.
A recent decision from the Justice Department is prompting the VA to stop using the authority it has under current legislation to fire senior executives more quickly. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee said the news comes after an inquiry over whether the VA planned to make any policy changes after the DOJ decision, which ultimately ruled that a key provision in the VA Choice Act is unconstitutional.