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12:18 am, September 22, 2014

Veterans Affairs News

Jason Miller, Executive Editor, Federal News Radio

House Veterans Affairs Committee members are fed up with repeated cybersecurity problems. They want the VA to improve its cybersecurity once and for all. A new bill tells the department exactly how to do it. The legislation is among the most prescriptive cyber bills that any agency has seen in almost a decade. Federal News Radio Executive Editor Jason Miller shares reactions to the bill with Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp. Read Federal News Radio's related article.

Friday - 04/04/2014, 10:27am EDT
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Inside the DoD Reporter's Notebook: Pentagon goes its own way on GSA schedules; VA still thinks its electronic health record can

"Inside the DoD's Reporter's Notebook" is biweekly feature focused on news about the Defense Department and defense community as gathered by Federal News Radio DoD Reporter Jared Serbu.

Friday - 04/04/2014, 03:59am EDT
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House to vote on bill making it easier to fire VA senior execs

The House will soon vote on a measure making it easier for the Veterans Affairs secretary to fire or demote senior career executives at the department, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at a Capitol Hill briefing Thursday. The VA Management Accountability Act allows the VA secretary to remove or demote members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) based on their performance.

Thursday - 04/03/2014, 05:19pm EDT

House lawmakers lose patience with VA, introduce prescriptive cyber bill

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) introduced the Veterans Information Security Improvement Act that would explicitly require VA to take steps to repair operational and procedure holes in its network and computer security processes.

Thursday - 04/03/2014, 03:23pm EDT
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VA's disability claims backlog down by 44 percent, but problems remain

The Department of Veterans Affairs believes it is on track to end its disability claims backlog by 2015. It's an uphill fight, considering that more than half of its claims have been waiting for at least four months, and appeals take an average of more than two years.

Wednesday - 04/02/2014, 04:53am EDT
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How the future of health care lies behind a Blue Button

The Blue Button Initiative started at VA as a way for veterans to more easily access their health care data. But, with the help of Presidential Innovation Fellows, the initiative is now enabling American people across the country to access their personal health records in a human-readable format. Federal News Radio examines the project's greatest successes and where it's headed next as part of our special report, Solving Our Nation's Toughest Challenges: The Presidential Innovation Fellows.

Wednesday - 04/02/2014, 04:00am EDT

VA reduces disability claims backlog by 44 percent

The Veterans Affairs Department reduced the number of pending disability claims by 267,000 over the last year. Veterans are also waiting 119 days less than they did a year ago for their claims to be processed.

Tuesday - 04/01/2014, 02:56pm EDT

Marina Martin, Chief Technology Officer, Veterans Affairs Department

The Veterans Affairs Department promises to be "digital by default." The new initiative seeks to provide better and faster service to veterans. The department is hiring experts from outside the government to build the technology to streamline offerings. Marina Martin, VA's chief technology officer, tells Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp the effort goes beyond simply tackling the persistent backlog of disability claims.

Tuesday - 04/01/2014, 11:20am EDT
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Werfel, Blackman land in the private sector

Horace Blackman, a long-time Veterans Affairs IT executive, also leaves for the private sector, joining Lockheed Martin.

Monday - 03/24/2014, 03:24pm EDT

Randy Williamson, Director of Healthcare Issues, GAO

In emergencies, you rush to the closest hospital to get medical care. Veterans are the same way. And when they go outside the VA system for emergency care, the department is supposed to pay for it even if they don't have other insurance. But, that's not always what happens, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office. Randy Williamson, director of Healthcare Issues at GAO, spoke to Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp about what GAO found.

Monday - 03/24/2014, 01:56pm EDT
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David Sella, Program Manager, VA Warrior to Workforce Program

The Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy is preparing for a special commencement ceremony this fall. About two dozen veterans will graduate from its Warriors to Workforce Program. Program Manager David Sella spoke with Federal Drive host Tom Temin about how the program works and how the agency plans to expand it. Tom caught up with Sella at the 2014 Acquisition Excellence Conference. View photos and listen to more interviews from the conference.

Monday - 03/24/2014, 01:40pm EDT
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Veterans' unemployment edges down but remains high

The unemployment rate for veterans who served since 2001 dipped slightly in 2013 to 9 percent, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Friday - 03/21/2014, 02:30pm EDT

Eric Shinseki, Secretary, Veterans Affairs Department

Cash, drugs and science experiments are all part of VA's fiscal 2015 budget request.

Monday - 03/17/2014, 04:58pm EDT
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Veterans make up growing share of federal workforce so why is their morale faltering?

Nearly three in every 10 new employees hired by the federal government have worked for Uncle Sam before -- in uniform. But even as the federal government has found success onboarding veteran employees, new questions have been raised about the workplace environments veterans are encountering.

Monday - 03/10/2014, 02:00am EDT

SES shakeup: Reform or hissing contest?

Would your life be better off if your top career boss had a little less job security? Senior Correspondent Mike Causey asks. Or would that put you between a political rock and a hard place?

Wednesday - 02/19/2014, 02:00am EST

House committee chairman wants VA middle managers held accountable

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) is the author of new legislation that would make it easier for the Veterans Affairs Department to fire its senior executives. Miller, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, says the agency is too shy about cutting loose middle managers who are performing poorly.

Monday - 02/17/2014, 03:44pm EST
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VA adds, NIST loses senior executive

The Senate confirmed Sloan Gibson to be the next deputy secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Patrick Gallagher, is heading off to academia.

Thursday - 02/13/2014, 09:24am EST

House bill would make it easier to fire senior execs at VA

The VA Management Accountability Act would give VA Secretary Eric Shinseki broad authority to remove Senior Executives Service (SES) members "if the secretary determines the performance of the individual warrants such removal," according to the bill. In addition to outright removal, the bill would allow the VA secretary to bump SES members down to the General Schedule at any grade level the secretary deems appropriate according to the bill.

Wednesday - 02/12/2014, 01:22pm EST

VA gets new tool to speed up claims processing, reduce backlog

DoD opens its electronic medical records to VA claims processors for the first time. The goal is to shave days or weeks from the time it takes VA to decide disability claims for recently separated service members. But the launch of the system has had a few bugs.

Friday - 02/07/2014, 04:23am EST
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Lawmakers seek in-state tuition rates for veterans

House passes bill to ensure that public universities charge vets in-state tuition rates

Tuesday - 02/04/2014, 07:12am EST
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