VA Secretary Launches Centralized Bid to Combat Waste and Fraud

VA Secretary David Shulkin said the initiative will build on current efforts but add a more centralized approach to risk management of programs. VA Secretary David Shulkin said the initiative will build on current efforts but add a more centralized approach to risk management of programs. Susan Walsh/AP

Two days after his “State of the VA” address, Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin announced a stepped-up effort to reduce fraud, waste and abuse in VA payments.                     

The Seek to Prevent Fraud, Waste and Abuse (STOP FWA) initiative will build on current efforts but add a more centralized approach to risk management of programs. “Already we’ve been able to prevent $27 million in fraudulent payments and duplicate payments in fiscal year 2016,” Shulkin said on Wednesday. “However, with centralized oversight, I know we can do much more than that."

In a statement Friday, he said: "The departmentwide effort will eliminate duplicative activities and explore potential partnerships with other federal agencies to capitalize on their successes in detecting fraud, waste and abuse in the three VA administrations devoted to health, benefits and cemeteries.”

Each of those administrations up until now has had separate budgets and programs to combat waste and fraud. The same is true of VA’s smaller staff offices.

Shulkin also addressed on Friday a related plan for creation by July of a VA Prevention of Fraud Waste and Abuse Advisory Committee, which he said is ahead of schedule. Members are being selected now, among them Shantanu Agrawal, president and CEO of the National Quality Foundation. Agrawal has “a heavy background in fraud, waste and abuse,” Shulkin said. 

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