New VA secretary sets sights on major agency reforms

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald outlined for the first time Monday his strategic vision for a new, efficient and innovative VA. The bottom line: Today’s VA is too complex, too hierarchical and needs to be flipped on its head.

VA forming Digital Service Team, recruiting experts

The Department of Veterans Affairs is actively recruiting a cadre of top-level developers, designers and digital product managers to form a new Digital Service Team to create and re-design the digital interfaces that veterans and the private sector rely upon to interact with the agency.

VA planning aggressive replacement of scheduling system

The Veterans Affairs Department plans to complete proposal evaluations and award a contract for a commercial patient scheduling system by the end of the year, the VA official in charge of the program told FedScoop.

VA finds no evidence linking veteran deaths to wait list scandal

Officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs used paper waiting lists and manipulated electronic scheduling data at as many as 93 VA medical facilities across the country, but investigators found no conclusive evidence that the resulting delays in care caused any veteran deaths at the VA’s hospital in Phoenix.

Pentagon issues RFP to modernize electronic health records

The Defense Department released a long-awaited request for proposals Monday for its multi-billion dollar effort to replace its aging health record systems and enhance interoperability with private health care providers and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

EXCLUSIVE: VA’s CIO Stephen Warren on serving veterans

In his first interview since a scandal involving secret waiting lists forced a change of leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Stephen Warren, VA’s chief information officer, offers a candid assessment of the agency’s past and future technology plans.

Chuck Hagel and the secret war over DOD & VA electronic health records

Some of the original developers of the Department of Veterans Affairs electronic health record system, known as VistA, credit Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel with championing the pioneering EHR effort in 1982 and helping it become a reality. Now, more than 30 years later, the Defense Department has rejected VistA as a viable EHR option and is about to spend billions on a new system. What happened?

7 things Congress doesn’t understand about VA’s scheduling system

President Barack Obama signed a $16.3 billion reform bill Thursday designed to drastically overhaul the scandal-ridden Department of Veterans Affairs by improving access to medical care for veterans and preventing unscrupulous VA employees from gaming the scheduling system.

VA reform bill heads to POTUS’ desk, but what about IT?

The VA reform bill provides funding to expand health care capacity and calls for an independent review of VA operation, including VA’s IT systems.

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.

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