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12:19 am, November 29, 2014

Veterans Affairs News

Threat to discipline 1,000 VA employees draws cheers and jeers

The biggest reorganization effort in VA history is underway, says Secretary Bob McDonald. His reform plan includes hiring a Chief Customer Service Officer and imposing disciplinary action on more than 1,000 employees. And while some praise McDonald's quick and decisive actions, others are urging a different approach that gives the accused an opportunity to respond.

Wednesday - 11/12/2014, 10:56am EST
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From Army sniper to IT professional: One vet's story of his transition to civilian life

It may seem like a leap to go from Army sniper to a career helping federal agencies deliver great online customer service and software development practices. But that's the story of Randy Tharp. A wounded warrior of two tours of duty in Iraq, he's also had two tours of duty as a federal civilian employee before heading to the Five-Nine Group.

Tuesday - 11/11/2014, 12:09pm EST

What are you doing to help our returning heroes transition to civilian jobs?

More than 1 million veterans are expected to re-enter the workforce during the next five years and it's the business community's responsibility to help them, says Deloitte's Janet Foutty. She says the nation owes it to today's newest veterans to help them find the right opportunities, the right access to education and the chance to enjoy the future they fought so hard to protect.

Tuesday - 11/11/2014, 02:23am EST

Verna Jones, Executive Director, American Legion

This Veterans Day will be one of transition at the Veterans Affairs Department. New secretary Bob McDonald has taken steps to minimize delays at veterans health centers across the country and show he's holding employees accountable. Now he wants to embark on a major reorganization of the department. One of the people watching closely is Verna Jones, the new executive director of the American Legion. Jones tells Federal News Radio's Emily Kopp that she sees progress at the VA but there's still so much more to improve.

Monday - 11/10/2014, 11:16am EST
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VA chief: 1,000 workers face disciplinary action

VA secretary says 1,000 agency workers face discipline or firing in wake of wait-time scandal

Saturday - 11/08/2014, 12:52pm EST

Legion sees hurdles amid the progress at VA

Six month after the American Legion led the call for then-Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation, Executive Director Verna Jones says she has no regrets. "We got it right," she said. "Because of that change, things are happening." Fewer veterans are waiting weeks for appointments, but Jones sees much that needs improvement at the VA.

Friday - 11/07/2014, 04:05pm EST
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McDonald says ‘biggest reorganization of VA' to rebuild trust is underway

VA Secretary Bob McDonald said the new "Road to Veterans Day Action Review" released Thursday will help change the culture of the agency. The three-pronged strategy is part of McDonald's efforts during his first 100 days in office.

Friday - 11/07/2014, 03:45am EST
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Marina Martin, Chief Technology Officer, Veterans Affairs Department

Recently the White House established what it calls the Digital Service Group. It's job: To help federal agencies with troubled, public facing technology projects. Well, the Veterans Affairs Department has established its own Digital Service group. Marina Martin, chief technology officer at VA, joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to explain how the new group will work.

Wednesday - 11/05/2014, 09:40am EST
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Ellen Edmonson, Veterans Health Administration Telehealth Services

Veterans made 2 million virtual health care visits in fiscal 2014. Whether it's having a consult without leaving your living room or having medical data collected and monitored remotely, telehealth makes more care possible for many vets who can't make it to a clinic or don't have one nearby. Ellen Edmonson is deputy chief consultant of the Veterans Health Administration Telehealth Services. She joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to describe how telehealth works.

Friday - 10/24/2014, 01:00pm EDT
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VA official charged with health care fraud

Former Chief of Prosthetics at VA Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, and equipment vendor charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Thursday - 10/23/2014, 10:17am EDT

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
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