Congress is beginning to get a clearer picture of the Veterans Affairs Department’s new Choice Program, which lets veterans access private sector community care providers if they choose. But members on the House VA Committee question the department’s continued involvement in scheduling appointments for veterans.
Lawmakers cringed at the price expansion and lack of tangible goals associated with the Veterans Benefits Management System.
The House Veterans Affairs Committee came down hard on the steps VA has taken so far to hold its employees accountable for misconduct. Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said the department is putting employees on detail rather than paid administrative leave, while the VA finishes a disciplinary investigation.
Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) said the Veterans Affairs Department fell victim to another breach by a nation state in September 2014, putting veterans’ data at risk. But VA CIO Steph Warren said internal and external reviews found no evidence of a breach.
The Veterans Affairs Department has been compromised by at least eight different nation state organizations that stole data from its systems, House lawmakers and other experts say. VA officials say there always are risks, but their computer security is better than ever before.