VA’s performance report deemed 'clear and reasonable'

The Veterans Affairs Department met most of the goals set out in its fiscal 2000 performance plan, and had clear strategies for achieving them, according to a General Accounting Office review. In its report, "Veterans Affairs: Status of Achieving Key Outcomes and Addressing Major Management Challenges" ( GAO-07-752), the GAO critiqued VA's most recent performance report as well as its fiscal 2002 performance plan. Under the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act, agencies must write strategic plans, as well as prepare annual performance plans and performance reports. Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., asked GAO to assess the largest federal agencies' fiscal 2000 performance reports and determine how well agencies were achieving their key goals. According to Thompson, this second round of performance reports still does not provide an adequate picture of agencies' performance. "The Results Act is intended to shift the focus of accountability from process to results," Thompson said at a House hearing in June. "Setting results-oriented performance goals and then using them to track progress, make resource decisions and manage day-to-day operations should come as second nature." The VA's performance goals for fiscal 2000 were to provide high-quality health care at a reasonable cost to the government, to process veterans' benefit claims quickly and accurately, and to help disabled veterans get and keep jobs. While the department said it lowered its average cost-per-patient by 2 percent, and increased by 12 percent the number of disabled veterans for whom it found employment, the agency made little progress with benefit claims, the GAO found. The VA could have better explained in its performance report why some key goals weren't met, such as having 75 percent of patients with scheduled appointments see a provider within 20 minutes, the report found. However, the VA did detail the extent to which it met each of its goals, providing baseline and performance information to compare and contrast its performance over several fiscal years. "VA's performance report generally provides clear and reasonable descriptions of its strategies for correcting performance deficiencies and improving future performance on its key performance measures, even in those areas where VA met its fiscal 2000 performance goal," the GAO found. The VA also tweaked its performance plan and performance report by adding a section to specifically address issues identified by the GAO and the VA's inspector general. These issues included describing goals and actions for solving problems. "VA made significant changes to the way it will assess its progress," the report said. "VA added a new measure on patient safety focused on identifying the root causes of medical errors, which, in turn, could lead to appropriate corrective actions." In a written response, VA Secretary Anthony Principi disagreed with the GAO's demand that specific performance goals and measures be listed for every major management challenge. "It appears that GAO believes anything short of this standard is considered inadequate," Principi wrote. "The primary objective is to resolve each challenge, however, each is not strategic in nature. For those deemed strategic, VA will address them in its planning documents." In May, the VA received the highest score for the quality of its report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Arlington, Va. Mercatus evaluated the 23 major agencies' fiscal 2000 performance reports on clarity and accessibility, demonstration of agency results and leadership in identifying problems and offering solutions to them.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.