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Jan 11, 2019

Tester Sets a High Bar for New Head of VA Office of Information and Technology

Senator Lays Out Challenges and Expectations for Newly Sworn-In Gfrerer

(Helena, Mont.) - Ranking Member Jon Tester today laid out the challenges and opportunities for the recently-sworn in Assistant VA Secretary for Information and Technology James Gfrerer.

In a letter to Gfrerer, Tester addressed his chief concerns for the VA's Office of Information and Technology, which Tester describes as being "under severe, well-deserved, scrutiny in recent years."

"There is no doubt that insufficient resources, a chronic lack of transparency, and an inability to effectively prioritize countless competing objectives have led to serious questions about the VA's ability to meet the standard of technology necessary to serve our nation's veterans," Tester wrote. "Now that you have taken the IT reigns at the VA, I would like to know more about your priorities. To that end, I respectfully request that you provide a comprehensive and prioritized list of VA IT projects."

Tester cites recent cuts to the VA's Information and Technology (IT) budget despite new IT infrastructure demands and current system shortcomings. He continues with concerns about the Office's recent failure to properly implement Tester's bipartisan Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, or "Forever G.I. Bill," which delayed monthly housing stipends for student veterans across the nation.

In addition, Tester sets a high bar for the VA's implementation of the new Electronic Health Record system, which will require a decade-long rollout and strict management of facilities transitioning to a new IT system.

Tester supported Gfrerer's nomination before the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and during his final confirmation vote on the Senate floor. Tester's letter can be read in full HERE.

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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