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6:31 am, October 22, 2014

Veterans Affairs News

Allison Hickey, Under Secretary for Benefits, Veterans Affairs Department

The Veterans Affairs Department has broken its own records in processing disability and pension claims. The agency made its way through 1.3 million claims in fiscal 2014. That surpasses 2013's record by 150,000. One result is that VA's disability claims backlog fell to its lowest number in four years. It's down 60 percent from the peak of March 2013. These numbers put VA on track to meet its 2015 goals. Allison Hickey is the undersecretary for benefits at the VA. She joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to explain how the agency was able to plow through so many cases.

Tuesday - 10/21/2014, 01:00pm EDT
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Understanding acquisition needs key to training workforce, experts say

Knowing and appreciating the industry side of the acquisitions process is key to training the acquisition workforce of the future, according to two acquisition experts.

Tuesday - 10/21/2014, 12:07pm EDT
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Latest employee viewpoint survey shows dissatisfaction with VA's senior leaders

In an agency rocked by scandal and mismanagement, employees at the Veterans Affairs Department are becoming less pleased with their senior leaders. According to data from the Office of Personnel Management's 2014 Employee Viewpoint Survey, only 37 percent of employees surveyed said they are satisfied with their senior leaders' policies and practices. The number is down from 40 percent in the 2013 survey.

Friday - 10/17/2014, 11:27am EDT

Melissa Starinsky, Chancellor, VA Acquisition Academy

The acquisition workforce is issue number one for just about every person Federal News Radio has talked to as part of our special report "The Missing Pieces of Procurement Reform". Today's focus - taking stock for the future. Melissa Starinsky is chancellor of the VA Acquisition Academy. On In Depth with Francis Rose, she said they're realizing some success in training the acquisition workforce of the future.

Thursday - 10/16/2014, 04:41pm EDT
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VA exec at center of FedBid procurement scandal retires

Susan Taylor, the Veterans Health Administration deputy chief procurement officer, resigned and retired Oct. 14. She sent an email to staff announcing her decision as VA had started the process to fire her.

Tuesday - 10/14/2014, 05:53pm EDT
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When is the best day for you to retire?

The NITP's Tammy Flanagan will discuss the best days to retire and Andy Medici with the Federal Times new problems at the VA, and the high cost of workers compensation.
October 8, 2014

Wednesday - 10/08/2014, 06:54pm EDT
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VA moves to ax 4 senior execs in scandal response

Veterans agency moves to fire 4 senior executives in crackdown following wait-time scandal

Wednesday - 10/08/2014, 03:56am EDT

VA begins process to remove executive at center of FedBid scandal

Sloan Gibson, VA's deputy secretary, said he's proposed the removal of Susan Taylor, the deputy chief procurement officer at the Veterans Health Administration. Gibson will use the new authorities provided by Congress and President Barack Obama in August under the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014.

Monday - 10/06/2014, 05:54pm EDT

Susan Tsui Grundmann, Chairman, Merit Systems Protection Board

A new law signed by the President last month gives the Veterans Affairs secretary lots of discretion to fire or demote members of the Senior Executive Service. The law came in response to management problems resulting in long wait times for admittance to VA facilities. The law means SESers at VA work under a different set of civil service rules than those in the rest of government. It also imposes new burdens on the Merit Systems Protection Board. The board issued an interim final rule on how the agency will carry out the new mandate. Chairwoman Susan Tsui Grundmann joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to discuss the comments the board received about the rule and what the law does require of the board.

Monday - 10/06/2014, 09:13am EDT
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Energy reverses course on plan to hire VA executive at center of FedBid procurement fraud

The Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management planned to bring on Susan Taylor, the Veterans Health Administration's deputy chief procurement officer, but now has changed its mind. Taylor is accused by the VA inspector general of committing procurement fraud, lying to investigators and having a conflict of interest by promoting FedBid.

Thursday - 10/02/2014, 03:14pm EDT

Will you be getting a new boss soon?

Jennifer Mattingley, director of government affairs for Shaw Bransford and Roth will discuss job turnover in federal agencies, and Federal Times writer Andy Medici will talk about an increase in discrimination complaints in the federal government and the latest problem at the VA.
October 1, 2014

Wednesday - 10/01/2014, 06:51pm EDT
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Rep. Coffman calls on VA to take swift action against Susan Taylor

The chairman of the Veterans Affairs subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations wrote a letter to Veterans Affairs Department Secretary Bob McDonald wanting more details on the actions it will take in light of the inspector general report involving the deputy chief procurement officer at the Veterans Health Administration and FedBid.

Tuesday - 09/30/2014, 06:34pm EDT

VA settles complaints by 3 Phoenix whistleblowers

The Veterans Affairs Department said Monday it has settled complaints filed by three employees who faced retaliation after filing whistleblower complaints about the troubled Phoenix VA hospital.

Monday - 09/29/2014, 09:36pm EDT

VA IG unwinds tale of procurement fraud, abuse involving senior agency officials, FedBid

The Veterans Affairs inspector general issued a report alleging the deputy chief procurement officer at the Veterans Health Administration used her position to promote and award a contract to FedBid, a reverse auction vendor, and improperly acted as an agent of the vendor, creating a conflict of interest.

Monday - 09/29/2014, 05:26am EDT
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Despite new EHR system, DoD faces big data interoperability challenges

The Defense Department says its forthcoming purchase of a commercial-off-the-shelf electronic health record system is the best way to bring it into line with modern health IT practices and make its data more interoperable. But even after the system is deployed, DoD will be living with legacy data and paper records for years to come.

Thursday - 09/25/2014, 01:21pm EDT
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Joe Petrillo, Procurement Attorney, Petrillo & Powell PLLC

A big contractor goes to court to challenge the Veterans Affairs Department's plan to limit a solicitation for services to small businesses - and the big guy wins. The details of the case make it one to watch, according to our procurement expert. Attorney Joe Petrillo explained the case of Rotech v. United States on the Federal Drive.

Thursday - 09/25/2014, 01:09pm EDT
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Report: Services for female veterans fall short

The Veterans Affairs Department and other government agencies are not doing enough to help women who served in the military, even as their number is rising dramatically, according to a new report.

Wednesday - 09/24/2014, 05:40pm EDT

New, standardized VA forms aim to speed up disability claims process

The Department of Veterans Affairs is set to introduce new, standardized disability claims forms to help streamline the claims process. The goal is to make it easier for veterans and their survivors to clearly state their claims and also provide necessary documentation.

Wednesday - 09/24/2014, 03:30pm EDT

VA has one ethics officer for every 18,674 employees

The Office of Government Ethics says the Veterans Affairs Department needs to expand the legal team responsible for ensuring employees follow government ethics rules. The team has just 19 people, in a department of more than 342,000.

Tuesday - 09/23/2014, 02:21pm EDT

Former VA employee sentenced for stealing government property

Venita Godfrey-Scott was charged with stealing government property she used for various home improvement projects.

Friday - 09/19/2014, 04:14am EDT
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