IN FOCUS: VA technology and security

FedScoop has been at the forefront of investigative reporting into the Department of Veterans Affairs and its efforts to deploy leading-edge information technology to improve its ability to serve millions of veterans and secure their private information.

In Focus: VA Technology and Security, provides a one-stop-shop for our ongoing coverage of the people, policies and technologies behind VA’s cyber struggles and the efforts to reform an agency under siege.

Miller calls on VA to answer for cybersecurity shortfalls

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., has called on five senior VA officials, including Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, to testify at next week’s scheduled hearing on “longstanding information security weaknesses” that have enabled “data manipulation” throughout the agency.

VA adds two more execs to senior IT team

The embattled Department of Veterans Affairs recently hired a new deputy chief information officer for IT Project Management and Product Development and a chief learning officer for the Office of Information and Technology, according to an internal email obtained by FedScoop.

VA contracts ASM Research to improve clinical portion of VistA

Although the Department of Veterans Affairs is in the process of seeking out a replacement to its current scheduling system, the department awarded a contract Wednesday to ASM Research to modernize the current health care system and improve interoperability.

The Big data initiative shines in surprising places

The Obama administration probably didn’t envision local hunting, fishing and boating commissions as examples of how the government can harness big data. Neither did Waldo Jaquith, director of the U.S. Open Data Institute, when the president asked the Office of Science and Technology Policy to study the power of big data in January. Yet, at a workshop held by OSTP last week, Jaquith spoke of hunting and fishing regulations as a shining example of where big data is headed. Jaquith was one of many public and private sector officials June 19 who attended a workshop at Georgetown University to discuss…

Joan Mooney, VA’s liaison to Congress, retires

Joan Mooney, the senior executive responsible for managing the Veterans Affairs Department’s contentious relationship with Congress and ensuring the agency’s cooperation with independent audits by the Government Accountability Office announced her retirement June 20, FedScoop has learned.

Congress turning up the heat on VA CIO

The Veterans Department this year plans to award a new contract for a replacement to its outdated scheduling system — the IT infrastructure at the heart of the nationwide waiting list scandal. But before it does that the House Veterans Affairs Committee plans to investigate why the department has allowed the system to remain so antiquated for so long.

GAO: Agencies not documenting cyber incident response

The federal government is not learning critical lessons in cyber incident response because agencies are not effectively documenting how they respond to attacks or what the impact of those attacks have been on agency operations, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

VA releases internal audit summary of scheduling practices

The Department of Veterans Affairs today released its audit summary on veteran access to healthcare, less than an hour after the crisis concerning patient scheduling practices claimed the job of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Shinseki resigns as VA secretary

President Barack Obama today announced he has accepted the resignation of embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Shinseki fires senior VA leaders in Phoenix, announces further reforms

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, under fire from Democrats and Republicans to step down in the wake of the latest nationwide wait list scandal, announced this morning that he has ordered the removal of the senior leaders responsible for the VA Medical Center at the heart of the controversy and has stripped others of their performance bonus for the year.

VA wait list scandal turns spotlight on flawed IT system

House members reprimanded Department of Veterans Affairs officials late Wednesday, accusing the agency of stonewalling the committee’s investigations into mismanagement that may have led to the deaths of dozens of veterans who were forgotten on unofficial waiting lists at hospitals and clinics around the country.

VA knew of IT security gap that may have allowed manipulation of patient scheduling

The Department of Veterans Affairs knew of significant security weaknesses in its main electronic health record system that would allow anonymous users to access patient data and other sensitive information in direct violation of existing policies and federal privacy laws, according to an internal security briefing obtained by FedScoop.

IT weaknesses dating to 2005 at heart of VA wait list scandal

The so-called ‘secret wait lists’ that may have led to dozens of deaths at a growing number of Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals around the country have their roots in an insecure web of IT systems that have allowed the practice of creating informal waiting lists to go on for nearly a decade, a FedScoop investigation has revealed.

DARPA’s futuristic prosthetic arm gets FDA approval

Just eight years ago, DARPA formed the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program “to deliver near-natural upper extremity control to people who have lost their limbs in service to the country,” said the program’s manager, Justin Sanchez. Backing DEKA, a research and development corporation in New Hampshire, DARPA accelerated the revolution of the prosthetic limb — a system unchanged for 100 years — in less than a decade.

VA adds to IT executive team

The Department of Veterans Affairs has in the last few months brought on three new senior IT executives, including a deputy chief information officer for a newly created Office of Customer Advocacy.

House committee targets lack of transparency at VA

The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs today launched a website dedicated to documenting what it characterizes as a “lack of transparency” at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Budget breakdown: Windfall for workforce, R&D and STEM education

Despite what many consider a very modest pay raise for government employees, the budget request for fiscal year 2015 appears to actually invest in the federal workforce. Unveiled March 4, the FY 2015 budget request proposed a 1 percent pay increase for government employees, but emphasized more significant investments in training, development and recruitment initiatives for the federal workforce.

EXCLUSIVE: VA downplays risk assessment report

A 2013 internal security risk assessment of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ main electronic health record system that warned a data breach was “practically unavoidable” did not consider various security mitigation actions the department had already taken to address a very specific vulnerability, according to VA officials.

VA risk assessment warned of ‘unavoidable’ security breach

A 2013 internal Department of Veterans Affairs security risk assessment of the department’s main electronic health record system warned a data breach was “practically unavoidable.”

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