Moran urging progress in improving quality and timely access to VA care

Published: Jun. 16, 2016 at 12:18 PM CDT
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A year after the Department of Veterans Affairs was listed as a High-Risk federal agency, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) is continuing to fight for veterans.

Moran has joined 10 other senators in writing Under Secretary for Health of the Veterans Health Administration Dr. David Shulkin urging both short and long-term action to address the issues raised last year.

“More than a year has passed since the Government Accountability Office identified VHA as vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement, and in need of transformation, based on five serious, long-standing and well documents deficiencies,” the group wrote.

The deficiencies include ambiguous policies and inconsistent processes, inadequate oversight and accountability, information technology challenges, inadequate training for VA staff and unclear resource needs and allocation priorities.

“We understand that VA now has an organization structure in place led by Dr. Carolyn Clancy, with executive assigned to lead efforts in each of the five areas, and expects to finally issue its action plan by August 1, 2016,” the letter said. “Producing this plan in the August timeframe- 18 months after first being added to the list- is inadequate progress given the importance of the five areas cited and their impact on health care services.”

The group of senators is asking for a plan that will map out an aggressive and comprehensive strategy to resolve the issues by the end of the fiscal year 2018.

The senators have also asked that the VHA improve policy directives and to issue a comprehensive scheduling directive, the latter being completed within 30 days of receiving the letter.

“We believe in the vital and invaluable role of VHA in serving those who have served our nation,” the letter closes. “Nothing less than the health and continued viability of VHA is at stake ensuring you provide a path to ending the High-Risk designation.”

Other senators who have signed the letter include: Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

You can read the entire letter