McDonald: Proposed Board ‘Abrogation’ of Congress’ Role

Sandra Basu

WASHINGTON — An independent governance board, as defined in a recent report, would be redundant with the role of the congressional committees overseeing the VA, according to Secretary Robert McDonald.

The recently released review was mandated by the Veterans Choice Act, the more than $16 billion emergency funding measure passed last year after the VA waiting list manipulation scandal. It calls for VA to establish an independent governance board, to “develop fundamental policy, define the strategic direction, insulate VHA leadership from direct political intervention, and ensure accountability for the achievement of established performance measures.”

McDonald told lawmakers he opposed the idea, explaining, “What I believe is that this is a unique moment of time, and we have two great committees with two great chairman.Let’s work together. I think we can get it done without the board.”

McDonald made his comments at a House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing in which he testified on the findings of the Independent Assessment of the Health Care Delivery Systems and Management Processes of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Calling the assessment more than an “instrument” and more than a “tool,” Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs chairman, said that veterans “can’t afford to let this assessment become just [number] 138 gathering dust on some shelf, locked away where no one else will see it again.” >>Next Page

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