Tester Holds VA Accountable to Get Agency off High-Risk List

Senator: VA Slow to Take Action After Report Found it Prone to Waste, Mismanagement

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is calling on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin to take immediate action to investigate and address the reasons the VA was identified by a government watchdog as a high-risk federal agency prone to waste and mismanagement.

The VA was identified as a high-risk agency by the Government Accountability Office due to ambiguous policies, outdated Information Technology systems, inadequate accountability measures, and insufficient training for staff that can result in delays for veterans trying to access care. Tester called on the VA to complete an internal analysis by June 1, 2017.

“Despite initially being placed on the list in 2015, it may still take the VA until this summer to have completed a root cause analysis of the significant challenges identified by the Government Accountability Office,” Tester wrote. “Without an in-depth review, the VA cannot expect to overcome the issues and be removed from the list. I strongly urge you to take this placement seriously, and cease delay on completing a root cause analysis.”

The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing recently on the Government Accountability Office’s “High-Risk List” and found that the VA has not completed a full analysis to identify the practices that caused the agency to be placed on the High-Risk List.

The Government Accountability Office’s High-Risk List is issued every two years and highlights federal agencies that are prone to fraud, waste, or mismanagement of taxpayer money. This is the second time the VA’s health care program has been included on the High-Risk List.

The Government Accountability Office is an independent, non-partisan watchdog organization that studies how efficiently the government is using taxpayer money.

Tester’s letter to Secretary Shulkin is co-signed by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and can be found online HERE.

More information about the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing about the VA’s inclusion on the High-Risk List can be found HERE.