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10:34 am, December 18, 2014

Veterans Affairs News

Thousands of veterans' calls for help go to voicemail

The Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General identified a total of 40,500 missed opportunities for the call center to refer veterans to appropriate care and services.

Wednesday - 12/17/2014, 11:54am EST

David Wise, Director of Physical Infrastructure Issues, GAO

A Veterans Affairs hospital construction project is shaping up to be a classic failure. Late and over-budget, the billion dollar Denver facility is only 62 percent complete. And now a court rules, the contractor could legally walk away from the whole thing. Judges for the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals say the VA has acted in bad faith. This mess has not escaped notice of the Government Accountability Office. David Wise, the director of physical infrastructure issues at GAO, joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to explain more of what went wrong and whether it can be salvaged.

Tuesday - 12/16/2014, 07:49am EST
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Baylee Crone, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

Nearly one in three homeless veterans calling a Veterans Affairs help hotline was sent to voicemail in fiscal 2013. That's just one of the issues uncovered in an Inspector General's report on the VA National Call Center for Homeless Veterans. The VA has pledged to make changes to the call center. But as the temperatures dip, what other challenges lie ahead in supporting homeless vets? Baylee Crone, executive director at the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive with the latest on these problems and details on her testimony before the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Tuesday - 12/16/2014, 12:01am EST
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Disability hiring on the rise, OPM says

Four years after a push from the President, the federal government is hiring employees with disabilities at a rate that's higher than it's been in decades, according to a new report from the Office of Personnel Management.

Monday - 12/08/2014, 11:39am EST

Special Counsel names VA whistleblowers Public Servants of the Year

Before receiving their Public Servant of the Year awards, each whistleblower told stories of outrage and frustration, scattered with doses of faith and black humor.

Wednesday - 12/03/2014, 03:23pm EST

Ed Meagher, Husky Elf, Operation Covert Santa

Operation Covert Santa is looking for new recruits. Ed Meagher is Husky Elf of Operation Covert Santa, and also known for his role as former Deputy Assistant Secretary and Deputy Chief Information Officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs. On In Depth with Francis Rose, he said Operation Covert Santa is a simple job with huge rewards.

Tuesday - 12/02/2014, 05:15pm EST
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OMB to seed digital services teams across government

The U.S. Digital Service team is working with VA and other agencies to hire and train employees to apply the agile development approach to projects. Mikey Dickerson, USDS director, said the goal is two-fold: to create lasting agile development capacity in agencies and to ensure agencies think about citizens' needs first and foremost.

Tuesday - 11/25/2014, 06:06pm EST
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VA fires troubled Phoenix hospital director

VA fires head of troubled Phoenix vets hospital amid nationwide scandal, agency overhaul

Tuesday - 11/25/2014, 12:06pm EST

The VA fails another cybersecurity audit

The Veterans Affairs Department failed its 16th cybersecurity audit in a row, so it still can't properly protect the private health data of veterans. The VA Inspector General sees about 6,000 cyber weaknesses in the agency's IT networks, and says it falls short of complying with the Federal Information Security Management Act.

Tuesday - 11/25/2014, 11:56am EST

Americans give USPS high ratings in new poll

In a recent Gallup poll, the American public overwhelmingly rated the U.S. Postal Service as the agency doing the best job, despite a recent cyber attack and budget deficits.

Monday - 11/24/2014, 12:20pm EST

VA to spend up to $690 million on new patient scheduling system

The Department of Veterans Affairs released a request for proposals on Wednesday to build a new patient scheduling system - an endeavor that could cost up to $690 million over seven years.

Monday - 11/24/2014, 04:02am EST

Inside the DoD Reporter's Notebook: VA's new scheduling system, bad financial decisions, and confiscating mobile phones

"Inside the DoD's Reporter's Notebook" is a biweekly feature focused on news about the Defense Department and defense community, as gathered by Federal News Radio DoD Reporter Jared Serbu. Submit your ideas, suggestions and news tips to Jared via email.

Monday - 11/24/2014, 03:51am EST

Agencies delivering IT capabilities 20 days faster by using agile, OMB says

The Office of Management and Budget says PortfolioStat data is proving the positive impact agile development is having on IT projects. The U.S. Digital Service is providing both help and training to expand the understanding and use of agile development.

Friday - 11/21/2014, 04:23am EST
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Emily Kopp, Reporter, Federal News Radio

The first case of a fired Senior Executive Service member at the Department of Veterans Affairs has a decision from the Merit Systems Protection Board. Federal News Radio's Emily Kopp tells In Depth with Francis Rose that SESer isn't an SESer any more.

Thursday - 11/20/2014, 04:19pm EST
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Merit Board upholds senior exec's firing in VA scandal

The Merit Systems Protection Board has affirmed the Veterans Affairs Department's decision to ax James Talton, one of the first senior executives targeted under a new law that speeds up the removal process. Talton headed the Central Alabama Veterans Administration Healthcare System.

Thursday - 11/20/2014, 11:45am EST

VA to spend $60 million more on cyber after auditors' continued concerns

Steph Warren, VA's CIO, said he moved money out of projects and into cybersecurity to ensure the agency gets rid of as many material weaknesses as they can. The decision to move money comes as Congress turns back up the heat on VA to correct long-standing and systemic cyber shortcomings.

Tuesday - 11/18/2014, 12:56pm EST

John Palguta, Vice President for Policy, Partnership for Public Service

The Veterans Affairs Department finally fired Terry Gerigk Wolf last week. The former director of the Pittsburgh VA center had been on paid leave since June following a review of a Legionnaire's disease outbreak that claimed the lives of six patients there. Wolf is the fourth senior executive to be removed under the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014. John Palguta is vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service. He joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to discuss what that firing means for the future of due process protections for federal employees.

Tuesday - 11/18/2014, 09:55am EST
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James Tuchschmidt, Veterans Affairs Department

The Veterans Affairs Department has reduced wait times for tens of thousands of veterans seeking health care. Part of the progress comes from the congressionally-mandated Veterans Choice program. It requires the VA to issue choice cards to vets so they can seek medical care from private providers with VA footing the bill. VA issued the first batch of cards this month. James Tuchschmidt, acting principal deputy undersecretary for health at the VA, joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to discuss the rollout and the program.

Tuesday - 11/18/2014, 09:30am EST
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VA's two-step toward a new patient scheduling system

VA will release by Nov. 21 a request for proposals for a new commercial scheduling system and integration services for that scheduling software with its VISTA health IT system.

Monday - 11/17/2014, 04:15am EST

VA fails cybersecurity audit for 16th straight year

The Veterans Affairs Department will not receive the final results for its 2014 FISMA audit until next spring, but auditors already have informed IT officials that they've identified material weaknesses for the 16th year in a row. Department IT officials say progress on closing IG recommendations and securing their systems and data is real.

Monday - 11/17/2014, 03:46am EST
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