OIG: Statement of VA IG on Challenges facing VA

“… For FY 2020, the OIG is requesting an appropriation of $207 million. These resources would support an average of 1,000 full time equivalents (FTE) and sustain critical investments in facilities nationwide that began in 2015 as part of a multiyear effort to meet increased oversight needs of critical VA programs. In particular, appropriated funds will support a variety of impactful oversight work including conducting cyclical healthcare inspections, facility reviews, and benefits and procurement audits; responding to potential criminal activity; and evaluating risks and threats to VA infrastructure, such as investments in technology and procurement projects. This appropriation will also support a number of new or expanded initiatives that focus on high risk areas, including a predictive analytics program, the investigative development division, expanded healthcare inspections to include VISNs, and reviews of financial management at medical centers.”

“Among the major challenges that VA faces is implementation of legislation passed during the 115th Congress, notably the VA MISSION Act, the Appeals Modernization Act, the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, and the Forever GI Bill. The OIG is monitoring, and in some cases conducting reviews of, these efforts given their impact on the services and benefits received by veterans and their families. OIG staff also is overseeing other complex and prodigious VA initiatives, such as the modernization of electronic health records.”

“In keeping with the OIG 2018–2022 Strategic Plan, staff will focus not only on the oversight of programmatic areas, such as VA health care and benefits, but also will examine key factors that cut across VA administrations and program offices to drive success or perpetuate deficiencies…”

“The OIG’s strategic plan builds on a number of observed ongoing major management challenges and is responsive to issues identified by VA and the veteran community.2 I would like to discuss the OIG’s five strategic goals and highlight recent impactful work that has resulted in recommendations for how VA can better meet its commitment to veterans, their families, and VA staff…”

Read the full 16-page statement here.

Source: Statement of Michael J. Missal Inspector General, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs before the Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and related Agencies U.S. House of Representatives on challenges facing the Department of Veterans Affairs – March 13, 2019. OIG.

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