"I think, in an ideal world, [VA] would have preferred that we simply, you know, go along with them, but we don't--we may end up there. When we do the source selection, we may end up with a VistA derivative and be more common in software," said DoD's Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall.
A project to expedite the longest standing veteran disability claims eliminated more than half the applications that had been on the books for 2 years or longer, Veterans Affairs Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey told the House Veterans Affairs Committee during a May 22 hearing .
The Defense Department is moving forward with plans to acquire a commercial EHR solution. "There are good reasons for VA to have selected its legacy system," wrote Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a May 21 memo. "However, many of these reasons do not apply to DoD."
The Defense Department paid 31.8 percent more for the average unit price of prescription drugs than the Veterans Affairs Department across a sample of 83 drugs, says a Government Accountability Office report (.pdf) dated April 19 but only released publicly May 20. The DoD paid 66 percent more than the VA specifically for generic drugs, the report says.
Under House Appropriations Committee spending bill for the coming fiscal year marked up in subcommittee May 15, the Veterans Affairs Department would be funded at a topline of $147.6 billion, with $63.1 billion of that being discretionary spending.
The Veterans Affairs Department May 7 awarded a $200 million indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for cellular services and devices to AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and A&T Systems.
The Veterans Administration must move to a build model that allows the architect and the construction contractor to work together simultaneously to quell cost and time overruns, VFW Director of Legislative Service Raymond Kelley told the House Veterans Affairs Committee in a May 7 hearing . The VA currently operates 43 projects under the design-bid-build model where the construction contractor bids to a fixed price and then is responsible for cost overruns unless they put through a change order where the VA and the contractor negotiate for who pays the overage, Kelley said.
"Another form/agreement will be created for individual facility approvals specifically for borrowing mobile devices," said VA spokeswoman Josephine Schuda. The department's current user agreement for the pilots is a variation of the form used to take any government property out of a VA central office building, said Schuda.
Costs substantially increased and schedules were delayed for Veterans Affairs medical center construction projects in Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Orlando, a recently release April 4 Government Accountability Office report says. As of November 2012, the cost increases for the four projects ranged from 59 percent to 144 percent, with a total cost increase of nearly $1.5 billion and an average increase of around $366 million, the report says.
Veterans Affairs Department senior officials who oversee disability claims won't be getting bonuses this year because they failed to meet goals in reducing the backlog of claims processing, VA Spokesman Randy Noller said. The withholdings apply only to executives of the Veterans Benefits Administration. Political appointees are not offered the bonuses.