The Veterans Affairs Department is creating a data backbone that will house veterans’ addresses and correspondence in one system.
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.
The Senate is considering a series of new bills that would alter the Veterans Affairs Department’s current Choice program, which lets veterans find a private care provider rather than a VA doctor. VA leaders and Congress both say the department’s current program is not working.
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.
In today’s Top Federal Headlines, the White House releases this year’s Federal Agency Strategic Sustainability Plans, providing a snapshot of the progress agencies have made becoming more environmentally friendly.
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.
An extension and then redesign of the Veterans Choice Program, along with new employee accountability legislation, are top priorities for new Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. He said he’s working with Congress on new legislation to support those initiatives.
If the 114th Congress was about dissecting the Veterans Affairs Department’s challenges, then the 115th Congress will act quickly to solve them, leadership on the House Veterans Affairs Committee said.
President Trump issued an executive order for federal agencies to review their policies and procedures for buying American. He suspect loopholes in buy-American laws are too often used when the government buys. Agencies are to forward their legal and procedural reviews to Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross, who will in turn deliver a draft set of recommendations by the end of the year.
The Veterans Affairs Department is preparing a “State of VA” report on the challenges facing the agency, Secretary David Shulkin told reporters Wednesday. The report comes as VA quickly begins to plot some of its efforts to comply with the President’s government reorganization efforts during the fiscal 2018 budget cycle. VA is one of few civilian agencies that may see a major funding boost next year, according to the President’s budget proposal.