The VA led the way among federal agencies in requiring front-line health workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It later expanded the requirement to most VHA employees, volunteers and contractors who work in those facilities or come in contact with veteran patients and healthcare workers as part of their duties.
The VA will use millions of dollars from its American Rescue Plan grants to expand the scope of the digitization of federal records. One key goal is to reduce a backlog of record requests created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the baby boomer generation begins to reach the age where they will require regular, long-term care, VA will be required to shift a huge portion of its resources to care for them.
The VA’s plans to use money left over from another fund to increase its information technology budget has raised concerns among some members of Congress.
A bill that would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to run clinical trials on the potential benefits of cannabis for the treatment of military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain was again rejected by the VA, even though the legislation—S.1467 VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2021—is supported by a plethora of veterans groups.
Prosecution continues for defendants charged in a number of nearly-identical schemes to defraud TRICARE and other insurers out of hundreds of millions of dollars by exploiting a former loophole in the billing process for compound drugs.
When the VA, the largest healthcare system in the U.S., mandated COVID-19 vaccines for front-line healthcare workers in late July, it moved to the forefront of a building trend to require COVID-19 vaccines for some employees. It also established the department as the first federal agency to take the step.
While the last decade has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of veterans who are homeless on any given night, that trend has stalled in the last two years with numbers, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, starting to move upward again.
VA needs to do more to ensure workforce equity, inclusion and diversity, especially in its senior leadership roles, according to legislators and employee advocates.
VA might have underestimated the physical infrastructure costs related to its electronic health record modernization effort by billions according to a VA Inspector General report analyzing the project costs.
In its FY 2022 budget proposal, VA is asking Congress to provide the department with a 10% increase over 2021 funding levels.
With VA’s announcement that it will begin initiating the process to offer gender confirmation surgery to transgender veterans.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affected Native Americans, has revealed a critical need for investments in those communities, according to trial advocates and the Indian Health Service (IHS).
In its first meeting of the 117th Congress, the House VA Committee advanced a proposal that would allocate $17 billion for VA as part of President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
The first months of 2021 saw the progression of a number of high-profile criminal cases involving VA employees charged with harming the patients they were tasked to serve.
MISSION Act critics have raised alarms about the legislation consolidating and expanding VA’s community care program– that healthcare provided by non-VA providers would fail to meet VA’s standards.
Tens of thousands of less-than-honorably discharged veterans will have an easier avenue to have those discharges reconsidered and possibly adjusted, making it more straightforward for them to access VA services.
The Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection has followed through with only a small fraction of the cases it has investigated.