Tester Introduces Bill to Hold VA Contractors Accountable

The PACT Act Will Make VA Contracts Public

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is introducing the VA Performance Accountability and Contractor Transparency Act, or PACT Act, to increase the transparency and accountability of private companies that contract with the VA to provide services for veterans.

Tester’s bill requires the VA to make public all contracts over $100 million, and include performance metrics in those contracts. It also requires those private companies who are receiving taxpayer dollars to report on their performance and progress to Congress.

“Too often, third party contractors are awarded big VA contracts that cost taxpayers millions and then aren’t held accountable for the services they provide to veterans,” said Tester. “It’s past time that we hold contractors like Health Net accountable for dropping the ball. My bill increases transparency and makes government more efficient.”

The VA spends billions annually on contracts for IT work, health care, construction, and more. The Choice Program’s administrators, like Health Net, are paid millions to facilitate community care programs across the country, but often do not provide performance data to Congress when there are complaints about their service.

Under the PACT Act, VA contracts must include the following common-sense measures to ensure accountability:

  • Measureable metrics related to cost, schedule, and meeting requirements
  • Measureable metrics related to the use of award or incentive fees
  • A plan of action and milestones
  • Authority for the Secretary to charge a financial penalty to the contractor if their performance does not meet quality standards

In addition, private contractors who are awarded contracts over $100 million are required to do the following:

  • Document their work so the Secretary can review and validate quality
  • Provide reports to Congress on their performance to the metrics in their contract
  • Provide information to oversight committees when they receive notice that their service is failing to meet contractual standards 
  • Provide updates to Congress about any modifications made to the contract

Text of the PACT Act is available HERE.