Joint Hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the U.S. Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives at 1:00 p.m. CDT.
Oversight Plan for the 112th Congress
Clause 2(d)(1) of Rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives for the 112th Congress requires each standing committee, not later than February 15 of the first session, to adopt an oversight plan for the 112th Congress. The oversight plan must be submitted simultaneously to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on House Administration.
The following agenda constitutes the oversight plan of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs for the 112th Congress. It includes areas in which the Committee and its subcommittees expect to conduct oversight during this Congress, but does not preclude oversight or investigation of additional matters or programs as they arise. Because the Committee generally conducts oversight through its subcommittees, the plan is organized by subcommittee. The full Committee may, at the discretion of the Chairman, after consultation with the Ranking Democratic Member, conduct any of the oversight activities planned by the subcommittees.
Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
The Subcommittee will focus on policy for compensation for veterans’ disability claims, eligibility and upkeep on all National Cemeteries and the National Cemetery Administration, and VA insurance and pension programs. Goals include improving the timeliness, accuracy, and effectiveness of disability benefits, and ensuring that veterans are appropriately memorialized. To that end, the DAMA subcommittee will conduct oversight hearings, staff visits, and use Inspector General and Government Accountability Office reports and studies.
1. Modernizing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Disability Rating Schedule and Benefits Claims Processing System—The Subcommittee will perform rigorous oversight over ongoing efforts to modernize VA’s disability benefits claims process, which includes the implementation of the Veterans Benefit Management System (VBMS). The VBMS consists of several different pilot programs that must be synthesized into one coherent process. A primary element of VBMS is the digitalization of claims files and electronic transfer of information.
2. Appeals—The Subcommittee will continue to monitor the compensation and pension claims appeal process at the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA), the Appeals Management Center (AMC) and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). The Subcommittee plans to focus on exploring avenues to simplify the current appeal process, increase accountability and reduce avoidable remands.
3. Presumptions – The Subcommittee will continue to examine the process for establishing presumptions of service-connection for the purpose of providing disability benefits compensation, focusing on veterans from both current and past conflicts.
4. Examining Underperforming VA Regional Offices (VAROs)—Several VAROs produce chronically low efficiency and accuracy rates in the disability benefits claims process. Such offices are typically associated with larger metropolitan areas that also have high employee turnover rates as compared to parts of the country where the cost of living is lower. Consideration should be given to consolidating VAROs and reassigning claims work to locations that have consistently proven to be able to process veterans’ claims with efficiency and accuracy.
5. Insurance Matters—The Subcommittee will examine the insurance programs under the jurisdiction of VA to ensure the provision of the proper level of indemnification and appropriate categories of coverage. Additionally, the Subcommittee will review the overall operation of these insurance programs and VA’s use of Retained Asset Accounts for beneficiaries’ settlements.
6. National and Overseas Cemeteries—The Subcommittee will examine the immediate and long-term needs of the VA National Cemetery Administration (NCA) and the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) to provide burial or commemoration to America’s fallen heroes. Additionally, the Subcommittee will closely monitor the overhaul of operations at Arlington National Cemetery; particularly its record keeping system.
7. Information Technology—The Subcommittee will continue to review current information technology systems and software applications being used by the VBA with a focus on VBMS. The Subcommittee will explore the applicability of rules-based and other expert systems to automate the adjudication of disability claims through VBMS.
Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity
The Subcommittee will have a major focus on programs that promote veterans’ employment and ways to reduce unemployment among veteran, while seeking ways to ensure seamless transition to civilian life. To that end, the Economic Opportunity Subcommittee will conduct oversight on the following topics through the use of hearings, staff-to-staff meetings, site visits and Government Accountability Office studies and reports.
1. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS)—In evaluating these programs, the Subcommittee will focus on interagency cooperation between VETS and the Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VRE) program to assess the effectiveness of combined efforts to place disabled veterans. The subcommittee will also take a detailed look at the performance of the State Grant Program with an emphasis on promoting more consistent results.
The Subcommittee continues to be concerned about the usefulness and relevance of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) for those leaving military service. The Subcommittee will continue to conduct on-site visits to observe TAP classes and to gauge revision and deployment of the TAP curriculum.
2. Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment —VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program offers services and assistance with the mission of enabling veterans with service-connected disabilities to obtain and maintain suitable employment, and to enable certain other disabled veterans to achieve independence in daily living. The Subcommittee will examine VR&E’s recent efforts to implement its 5-track program throughout the 57 regional offices.
3. Employment and Self-Employment Opportunities for Veterans—The Subcommittee will review the efforts of the Department of Labor and VA in facilitating employment opportunities to veterans, with a focus on recently separated service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, including demobilizing Reserve and National Guard personnel.
4. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)—Formerly called the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, SCRA provides a wide range of protections for veterans and deploying service members. These include protections for employment, healthcare, and financial transactions such as leases and mortgages. SCRA underwent a major overhaul in 2003 with minor revisions since then. As more active duty and Reservists and National Guard members are activated and return to civilian life and with the economic downturn, protections under SCRA is more relevant and needed. The Subcommittee will continue to provide oversight over the SCRA, with emphasis upon violations by financial institutions overcharging on mortgages, improperly foreclosing, and in other manners depriving military families of the protections afforded under SCRA.
5. GI Bill— The Subcommittee plans to continue monitoring VA’s efforts to implement the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance with an emphasis on simplifying administration of the benefit as well as its relationship to other Title 38 education benefits. The Subcommittee will also examine ways to improve the delivery of veterans’ educational benefits.
6. Reserve Component Transition Assistance and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)—The Subcommittee will continue to monitor state transition programs with an emphasis on ensuring service members understand their rights under USERRA. USERRA provides a broad range of employment rights and responsibilities for veterans and employers. The Subcommittee will assess the effectiveness of USERRA with special emphasis on employers’ willingness to hire National Guard and Reserve members and employment-related issues related to returning to the workforce following activation as well as issues related enforcement.
7. State Approving Agencies (SAA)—The Subcommittee is concerned that the SAA efforts may be more productive in ensuring compliance with VA financial policies and procedures as well as preventing fraud and questionable recruiting practices. Therefore, the Subcommittee will examine how State Approving Agencies can be streamlined, reduce areas of responsibility, become more accountable for expenditures and reduce multiple agency overlap in services to better improve education benefits for veterans.
8. Information Technology—VBA currently uses several information technology applications to assist administration of its education and vocational rehabilitation and employment programs. Despite this basic level of automation, significant backlogs persist. The Subcommittee will assess opportunities to increase the ability of rules-based systems to improve timeliness, accuracy and consistency as a way to decrease the backlogs.
9. Small Business Contracting Goals for Veteran and Service Connected Disabled Business Owners—Overall, the Federal government continues to fall short in meeting the three percent procurement goal for service disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB). The VA now sets the example for Federal agencies and the Subcommittee will explore ways to export VA’s success to the rest of the federal government. In 2006, Congress passed Public Law 109-461 which provided SDVOSB and veteran-owned small businesses (VOSB) several advantages in contracting with VA as well as additional tools for VA to contract with SDVOSB and VOSB. The Subcommittee will also continue its oversight of VA’s progress implementing the small business provisions of P.L. 109-461.
10. VA Federal Procurement, Contract Bundling, and Non-Competitive Contracts—VA has the second largest Federal procurement budget after DoD. There is a concern that large prime contractors generally fail to comply with their small business subcontract plans that incorporate veteran-owned businesses as subcontractors. Despite the requirements of sections 501 and 502 of Public Law 109-461, to date, the VA has imposed no penalty on any company for failing to execute their small business plan or to debar businesses who fraudulently claim veteran-owned and controlled status. The Subcommittee will examine what the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance and SBA is doing to ensure that all contractors are in compliance with the small business goals. The Subcommittee will also examine the effectiveness of the Center for Veterans Enterprise in meeting these statutory requirements.
11. VA Loan Guaranty Program—The Subcommittee will review existing veterans’ loan programs to determine whether existing laws, regulations and VA initiatives are sufficient to reduce foreclosures on veteran-owned homes. The Subcommittee will include the views of the mortgage industry and other real estate experts to see if improvements can be made to the existing system including additional protections for mortgagors. The Subcommittee will also review VA operations in the secondary market.
12. Paralympics—To foster the use of sports as part of rehabilitation, Public Law 110-389 authorized VA to provide a grant to the US Paralympic program to promote development of adaptive sports programs for disabled veterans from the grassroots to elite competitive levels. The Subcommittee will review VA’s Paralympics grant program with an emphasis on the results of grassroots adaptive sports programs.
13. Veterans’ Priority of Hiring by Federal Contractors—The Subcommittee remains concerned that there is no systematic way to enforce existing law and about the roles of VETS and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance in assuring compliance with the law. Therefore, the Subcommittee will review the effectiveness of current law with a view towards enforcement.
Subcommittee on Health
The Subcommittee will exercise legislative, oversight, and investigative jurisdiction over the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) including medical services, medical support and compliance, medical facilities, medical and prosthetic research, and major and minor construction. Goals include maximizing the effectiveness of health care services delivered, while identifying ineffective spending to achieve the proper prioritization of limited taxpayer dollars.
1. Access to Care—The Subcommittee will examine the means through which VHA provides care to veterans, the various ways in which veterans’ access care and opportunities to expand and improve the provision of high quality care through non-traditional delivery methods, including the use of local health care providers closer to the veteran’s home. Particular attention will be paid to meeting the unique needs of veterans whose access to traditional medical care is limited by geography, disability, or other challenges.
2. Fee Basis Care Expenditures—The Subcommittee will vigorously evaluate what changes are needed in VA’s complex organizational structure in order to effectively and efficiently execute its fee basis care program and the need for transformation to ensure accountability and adequate management and oversight controls. In FY 2009, VA spent approximately $5.3 billion dollars (12% of its total medical care budget) to purchase health care services from non-VA entities including other government agencies, affiliated universities, community hospitals, nursing homes, and individual providers. In 2009, the VA Office of Inspector General released an audit of VHA’s non-VA outpatient fee care program which uncovered about $1.126 billion in overpayments over five years. The IG concluded that organizational structure changes were needed to make certain that fee basis care is properly authorized, justified and met with consistent, reasonable, and proper payments.
3. Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER)—The Subcommittee will aggressively evaluate progress being made by VA and DOD in the development of a single electronic, bi-directional, standards-based medical record to track service members from boot camp through their lives as veterans. Both VA and DOD serve the same patient population at different times yet operate separate health records systems and lack the ability to readily share data, necessitating costly duplication that impedes the safety, quality, and effectiveness of health care delivery.
4. Mental Health and Combat Related Stress—The Subcommittee will review VHA’s current mental health programs, including those for Post Traumatic Stress, Substance Use Disorder and Suicide Prevention. Among the many issues the Subcommittee will focus on are: the implementation of the mental health strategic plan; veteran patient compliance with completing recommended treatment; improving outcomes; overcoming stigma; conducting outreach; assessing future demand for care; and the allocation and tracking of mental health funds.
5. Women Veterans—Women are the fastest growing segment of the veteran population. The Subcommittee will evaluate VHA’s progress in overcoming barriers and other factors associated with health care quality and satisfaction for women veterans. Among the many issues the Subcommittee will focus on are the implementation of provisions in Public Law 111-163 aimed to assist women veterans, including readjustment and child care pilot programs and the activities and recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.
6. Support for Families and Caregivers—The Subcommittee will examine implementation of Public Law 111-163, which requires VA to establish a comprehensive program of assistance for family caregivers and strengthens statutory authority to provide support, counseling and mental health services for family members of a recovering veteran. It is widely recognized that one of the strongest factors that help warriors in their recovery is a high level of support from loved ones.
7. Capital Asset Management—The Subcommittee will closely monitor the management of VHA’s vast infrastructure which includes more than 6,200 buildings on 300 sites across 32,000 acres. Many of VA’s facilities are more than 50 years old and are no longer suited for the delivery of 21st>st century health care. Further, underutilized and vacant VHA properties cost taxpayers at least $175 million annually. The Subcommittee will identify options to more effectively use VA properties through sharing opportunities with the Department of Defense (DOD); collaboration with medical affiliates; and the reuse of excess property through enhanced use leasing or disposal.
8. VA and DOD Health Resource Sharing—The Subcommittee will identify greater opportunities for VA and DOD health resource sharing. Enhanced sharing between VA and DOD would improve health care quality, access, and efficiency by allowing for the pooling of resources and better performance management and oversight. However, organizational and culture barriers have historically thwarted sharing initiatives. Among the issues the Subcommittee will explore are the joint: procurement of pharmaceuticals; medical/surgical supplies; use of medical equipment and services; and construction.
9. Specialized Services for Wounded Warriors—The Subcommittee will evaluate VHA’s specialized care programs to ensure consistent and coordinated state-of-the art care system-wide through the use of the latest technology and best practices. Among the many issues the Subcommittee will evaluate is the continuum of care for veterans with amputations, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Blind Rehabilitation, and Spinal Cord injury.
10. Seamless Transition—The Subcommittee will actively review the transition of a service member from active duty to veteran status. The Subcommittee will focus on the accuracy and timeliness of VA’s assessment of the health status of separating service members; DOD force protection practices and policies; the Post-Deployment Health Re-assessment tool; streamlining the enrollment process for VA health care.
11. Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) Structure—The Subcommittee will examine the current VISN structure and ways to realign the VISNs to better manage performance, promote innovation, and establish uniformity of health care services and practices throughout the system. The VISN system has remained in place for fifteen years, with the only structural change taking place in 2002 when VISN 13 and 14 were integrated and renamed VISN 23. With the rapid application of new information technology that has revolutionized the way we live, interact, and conduct business, the Subcommittee will focus on opportunities to restructure the VISNs toward the goal of more patient-centered care.
12. Medical and Prosthetic Research Program—The Subcommittee will examine the value of VA research with respect to injuries and illnesses related to military service and the acceleration of discoveries and applications, especially for neurotrauma, sensory loss, amputation, polytrauma, and prosthetic needs. Among the issues the Subcommittee will also focus on are: the adequacy of research space and equipment and the development of a clearinghouse designed to promote VA and DOD researchers awareness collaboration and joint publication of research.
13. Long-Term Care—The Subcommittee will evaluate current programs and planning for institutional and non-institutional long term care. The Subcommittee will review innovative ways to improve the age-appropriateness of the delivery of long-term care services, improving and increasing home and community-based care options, and the development and implementation of a single, structured, and uniformly applied policy for care provided in VA facilities, state veterans homes and contract community nursing homes as well as rectifying issues with the implementation of section 211 of Public Law 109-461 which requires VA to pay State Homes a new rate for mandatory veterans known as the “70% program.”
14. p; Homeless Veterans Programs—The Subcommittee will assess the use, effectiveness, and any duplication of the specialized programs to assist homeless veterans and examine ways to strengthen VA’s ability to help homeless veterans regain their independence and prevent those at risk from becoming homeless.
15. Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT)—The Subcommittee will provide aggressive oversight of the impact and effectiveness of a new initiative VA is implementing referred to as PACT which is intended to increase access, coordination, communication, and continuity of care by allowing patients to have a dedicated primary care team and a more active role in their health care.
16. Pain Management—The Subcommittee will examine VHA’s pain management strategy. Managing pain is an increasingly significant issue, especially for recently returning combat veterans presenting with a wide range of physical and mental health problems, including musculoskeletal ailments and post traumatic stress. The Subcommittee will focus on: pain awareness, education, intervention; utilization of best practices for the continuum of acute and chronic pain; and the challenge of prescription drug diversion and abuse.
17. Data Based Performance Management and Health Care Value—The Subcommittee will review VHA’s performance management processes to ensure that appropriations are responsibly utilized for veterans health care programs. Key to improving veteran satisfaction and access to high quality care is evaluating and comparing with a data-based performance management tool precisely how care is being provided at each facility within the VA health care system and the cost and quality of that care.
18. Wounded Warriors and the Federal Recovery Coordinator Program—The Subcommittee will evaluate the effectiveness of the Federal Recovery Coordinator program and the potential for the elimination of overlap of supplemental VA and DOD case management and care coordination programs in the treatment and continuum of care for wounded warriors with amputations, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Spinal Cord injury, impaired vision and other serious and severe injuries.
19. Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Program—The Subcommittee will evaluate VA support of the VJO program. The VJO program was launched in 2009 to work with local justice system partners to provide outreach and alternative treatment for justice-involved veterans, including Veterans’ courts, drug courts, and mental health courts. Among the many issues the Subcommittee will focus on are plans for the expansion of full-time VJO specialist positions at VA medical centers.
20. Health Administration Center (HAC) Programs—The Subcommittee will examine the management and needed actions to improve programs administered by the HAC, including the Civilian Health and Medical Program of VA (CHAMPVA) and the Foreign Medical Program.
21. Health Care Personnel Practices and Procedures—The Subcommittee will review VHA employee recruitment and retention issues. VHA employs over 226,000 individuals and since 2005 has hired about 6,000 new mental health professionals. Among the many issues the Subcommittee will assess are: current and future workforce requirements; human resource policies; employee training and education; and the establishment of meaningful and enforceable performance standards and outcome measures.
22. VA Partnerships With Community Organizations—The Subcommittee will examine the relationship, role and development of community programs in partnership with VHA to meet the needs of veterans and their families in their home communities. While the responsibility for guiding a veteran’s transition to home life falls with the VA, community-based groups are playing a key role in helping veterans transition to civilian life. This is especially true for citizen-soldiers in the National Guard and Reserve who often lack access to a supportive military environment. The Subcommittee will focus on fostering communication, education and collaboration with community organizations and providers.
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
The subcommittee will conduct oversight and investigations over veterans’ matters generally, and over such matters as may be referred to the subcommittee by the Chairman of the full Committee for its oversight or investigation and for its appropriate recommendations. Goals include the identification of wasteful, duplicative, and ineffective spending; improving operations to ensure effectiveness in the delivery of services, and partnering with VA in its efforts to improve the lives of veterans, via expenditure of finite and limited taxpayer dollars.
1. Fully Interoperable Electronic Personal Health Information between VA & DoD—Congress has mandated VA-DOD development of interoperable health records or systems. The subcommittee will evaluate timelines and monitor progress in keeping with Congressional goals and the President’s expectation of electronic health records for veterans.
2. VA’s Acquisition Process—VA spends approximately $17 billion annually for pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical supplies, prosthetic devices, information technology, construction, and services. VA faces major challenges to implement a more efficient, effective, and coordinated acquisition program. The subcommittee will examine contracting, logistics, and development of control systems at VA to ensure that veterans’ needs are met and the taxpayers’ interests are protected in this multi-billion dollar industry.
3. Quality of Care and Patient Safety Issues—The Committee must monitor several quality of care and patient safety issues, including: the sterilization of reusable medical equipment, and the quality of care for veterans receiving VA long-term care services. There is a need for continued watchfulness to ensure that the proper corrective actions are occurring, as well as to determine whether similar problems are being identified and disclosed in an appropriate manner.
4. Veterans Records— The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), the Records Management Center (RMC) and various military service locations maintain the military personnel records of discharged members of the Armed Forces. The subcommittee will examine the security of veteran records maintained throughout to ascertain the protection of personal identifying information of our nation’s veterans, as well as the transmittal of these records to VA in order to assist veterans in the claims process and to help reduce the claims backlog.
5. VA Information Technology Programs—The subcommittee will continue its oversight of VA’s IT programs to review progress being made with implementation of its integrated enterprise architecture plan. This includes VA’s efforts to improve its internal and external cyber security, specifically the Government Configuration Baseline, including mandatory data encryption, as well as review the effectiveness of the VA’s Project Management Accountability System (PMAS) program and the new T-4 information technology contracting process, which is a five-year Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Multiple Award Task Order contract with a program ceiling of $12 billion.
6. Enhanced Land Leases and Divestment of Federal Property—The subcommittee will review the adequacy of internal controls related to leasing or selling of Department of Veterans Affairs assets and assess the tangible benefit to taxpayers. Additionally, the subcommittee will review the use and condition of historic properties owned and operated by VA, and whether the Department can sustain the costs and maintenance involved with these properties in the future.
7. VA/DOD Benefits Delivery at Discharge Program—The subcommittee will evaluate DOD’s utilization of a single examination that meets both military services’ separation requirements and VA’s disability compensation criteria. The subcommittee will also scrutinize VA’s efforts to co-locate Veterans Benefits Administration and Veterans Health Administration personnel involved in compensation and pension claims processing to provide more efficient one-stop claims processing centers. Furthermore, the subcommittee will examine the effectiveness of the implementation of the integrated DoD/VA Disability Evaluation System (DES).
8. Human Subjects Protection Program—The subcommittee will hold VA accountable for violations of the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects. Moreover, previous violations must be corrected and future problems avoided by properly utilizing management techniques and pre-inspection checklists.
9. Seamless Transition—The subcommittee will address schedules and delays related to VA and Department of Defense (DoD) efforts to ensure that the transition between the two departments is seamless and responsive to the needs of veterans. At a minimum, the subcommittee will examine issues such as the progress of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program and the DoD’s referral of discharged Guard and Reserve personnel to VA’s dental program for their follow-up dental care.
10. Evaluating Management Efficiencies—VA plans to achieve specified savings each fiscal year by implementing various procedures to achieve cost avoidance. The subcommittee will examine the relationship between projected savings and demonstrated savings and further assess the impact on the delivery of quality services.
11. Medical Care Collection Fund—The subcommittee will scrutinize VA collection efforts to include a common sense approach to waivers, demonstrations, consolidations outsourcing initiatives and recoupment as appropriate.
12. Modernize Financial Management—After the failure of the CoreFLS financial and logistics system and Financial and Logistics Integrated Technology Enterprise (FLITE), the VA has a poor track record of resource waste and no viable product to modernize its financial management system. The subcommittee will scrutinize the VA’s strategic asset management system and replacement/improvement plan, including the cost of non-implementation of previous programs.
13. VA’s Fourth Mission, Emergency Management Capabilities—The subcommittee will examine VA’s role in responding to natural or man-made disasters in support of VA and DoD contingencies, the Federal Response Plan, Radiological Emergencies, the Nation Disaster Medical System and in providing Continuity of Government/Operations. The intent is to ensure the VA can perform its “Fourth Mission” in accordance with strategic goals.
14. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Testing— The subcommittee will evaluate VA’s current PTSD testing program with an eye on non-vetted or local exams that are used to determine a veteran’s eligibility for PTSD related assistance in direct contradiction to established national standards.
15. VA Senior Executive Service Bonuses—The committee will scrutinize of VA’s bonus practices for its Senior Executive Service employees in comparison to performance, productivity, and the goal of Congress to decrease the cost of government for the taxpayer.
16. VA Inspector General—The subcommittee will review the VAOIG recommendation and implementation system for efficiency, accuracy, and follow-up. Moreover, it will pursue availability of resources, accountability and methodology to improve outcomes and restore veterans’ confidence in the system.
17. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs—The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces and administers the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA). Since the Federal government awards prime contractors worth approximately $200 billion per year, the subcommittee will examine OFCCP’s recent investigatory and enforcement actions related to VEVRAA and address issues where appropriate.
18. Competitive Sourcing and Alternative Management Systems—VA is implementing the President’s Management Agenda and Office of Management and Budget Directives through competitive sourcing and alternative management systems. The subcommittee is interested in the factual basis for conduct of this program and the organizational benefits yielded.
19. Energy Sustainability and Efficiency—The subcommittee will conduct oversight on VA’s progress in moving forward with sustainability and energy efficiencies at the various VA locations to include VA Medical facilities, National Cemeteries, and other facilities. The examination will include a focused look at how VA has spent funding authorized to enhance sustainability and efficiency programs and whether the funding is being well-spent.
20. Consolidated Patient Accounting System (CPAC)—The subcommittee will conduct oversight on VA’s consolidation of VHA’s business office functions into seven regional centers. The examination will focus on the transformation of VHA billing and to determine how closely VHA is aligned with industry best practices.
21. Office of Resolution Management for EEO Complaints—Public Law 105-114, the Veterans Benefits Act of 1997, included a requirement that the Department of Veterans Affairs take actions to improve its equal employment opportunity program and created the Office of Resolution Management. The subcommittee will examine the effectiveness of the Office of Resolution Management and its resources in relation to its function as intended by Congress.
22. Small Business Contracting Goals for Service Connected Disabled Business Owners—The subcommittee will probe the poor results related to small business contracting goals with service-connected disabled veteran small business owners and pursue corrective measures to meet or exceed the VA’s own goals.
23. Credentialing and Screening of VA Healthcare Employees—The subcommittee will examine VA’s implementation of Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommendations that indicated serious flaws in screening professional credentials of VA healthcare practitioners.
24. Medical Recruitment, Retention and Staffing—The subcommittee will review efforts being made by the VA to recruit, hire and train medical staff. Of particular interest will be any recent contracts to reintegrate and retain veterans at all levels in VA.
25. Laboratory and Clinical Select Agent Security—The subcommittee will examine VA Level 3 Laboratories compliance with laws and regulations governing biosafety and biosecurity (including radiological and chemical agents) throughout their research laboratories and Medical Centers.
26. Fiduciary Program—The subcommittee will analyze the continued delays, veteran and family complaints and the inadequacy of VA’s fiduciary system as reported by the VAOIG April 2010 and seek expeditious corrective action and improvement.