Oversight

Senator wants USPS to address veteran medication delays

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mt., wants answers from the Postmaster General about ongoing issues veterans have had receiving VA-prescribed medications by mail.

Oversight

GAO: Severe complications for pregnant veterans nearly doubled in the last decade

The report, which notes that Black women have a higher rate of complication, recommends that the VA collect more data on mental health, race and ethnicity to understand the reasons for the disparity.

Tech

Lawmakers urge VA to tread carefully with AI

The Department of Veteran Affairs’ 2023 inventory of AI use cases listed 100 instances where VA is working to use emerging technologies, with at least 40 of those examples in an operational phase.

Oversight

VA secretary says he ‘failed’ in recognizing office harassment allegations

Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough candidly admitted fault during a House committee hearing for not discerning more quickly whistleblower complaints of sexual harassment within a department office.

Pay & Benefits

10 years on, OPM keeps its pay freeze in place for senior officials

With budget negotiations ongoing, OPM officials said that the pay rates for the vice president and other senior political officials will remain frozen until at least the expiration of the latest continuing resolution.

Management

VA lacks the emergency budget modeling to prepare for health crises like COVID, GAO says

The watchdog said that the Veterans Health Administration does not have the modeling capability to predict how much supplemental funding would be needed to address a black swan event like the pandemic.

Tech

Vet centers need better systems, data to enhance support services

Watchdog officials warned lawmakers that the community-based counseling centers for returning veterans use a platform for identifying those at high risk of suicide that is “neither effectively nor consistently utilized.”

Workforce

How advanced and emerging technology can help VA save lives

COMMENTARY | Veterans remain at an elevated risk of suicide. Here’s how we can fix that.

Management

Archives clear pandemic-era backlog of veterans records requests

A combination of increased staffing and work hours, along with technological advances, allowed the National Personnel Records Center to dig out of backlog of more than 600,000 overdue records requests that accumulated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pay & Benefits

Trans veterans were promised access to gender-affirming surgeries — but it never happened

The Transgender American Veterans Association filed a lawsuit on Thursday over the Veterans Affairs Deparment’s failure to act after years of inaction.

Workforce

Staffing growth at VA is not leading to lower wait times in some areas

The department does not expect to add a net total of health care workers this year, but hopes to boost access in key specialties.

Management

VA’s compliance with accessibility requirements still lacking, watchdog says

The Veterans Affairs Department “did not effectively manage website accessibility to ensure Section 508 compliance,” according to an audit conducted by the department’s Office of Inspector General.

Management

Senate bill would offer veterans with lost medical records a way to access disability benefits

Legislation from the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee chairman would provide veterans with other documentation methods for receiving benefits when their medical records are misplaced between the VA and Defense Department. 

Management

Senate committee wants details on VA’s harassment investigation

On the heels of a House panel voting to subpoena the Veterans Affairs Department as part of its own investigation, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee wants more information about how officials are examining sexual harassment allegations. 

Oversight

House subpoenas VA over sexual harassment allegations

The department has asked for time to conduct its own investigation, but in a bipartisan vote, lawmakers declined to wait.

Pay & Benefits

A new rule allows the VA to adjust disability compensation to prevent overpayments

The rule, set to go into effect on Jan. 11, would allow the department to suspend or pause disability compensation for Defense Department servicemembers also receiving active service pay. 

News

When veterans in crisis can’t get help

Two veterans sought psychiatric care at a VA clinic in Chico, Calif. They were bounced between virtual providers and struggled to get support in the threadbare system. A staffer worried, “We are going to kill someone.” Then tragedy struck.

Oversight

Senate committee wants VA to ensure providers work to prevent opioid abuse

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and other Senate Veterans Affairs Committee members sent a letter to VA Secretary Denis McDonough calling for action after audits found oversight lapses in opioid prescriptions from non-agency providers.