VA Reform Bill Heads to President, Legislation Includes Sen. Warner's Proposal for NVTC Pro Bono Private Sector Assistance
The U.S. Senate has joined the House of Representatives in approving bipartisan legislation to begin reforming the troubled U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The legislation, which includes U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner’s (D-VA) initiative to enlist the pro bono assistance of NVTC to help fix the VA’s broken scheduling system, is expected to be signed into law by the President as soon as this week.
The Warner initiative requires the VA secretary to assemble a task force to review the VA scheduling system and recommend improvements following reports of falsified scheduling records and severe treatment delays at VA health facilities across the country. NVTC and Sen. Warner have been in discussions for several weeks with the VA and White House officials to design a workable plan for a private-sector partnership with the VA.
“The more the government wants to include and involve the private sector in the solutions to their problems, the more effectively those problems will be solved. So we’re delighted that the Senator has called on NVTC again. We’re also very pleased that he got that part of the legislation passed and we’re looking forward to the President signing it,” said NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg.
“This is truly a win-win: this pro bono assistance from the best and brightest in the private sector will allow the VA to more quickly and efficiently provide our veterans with the care and services they have earned. Moreover, the assessment and recommendations for improvement will not cost the taxpayers a dime,” Sen. Warner said. “The problems facing our veterans are inexcusable, and I am grateful that Congress was able to work together in a bipartisan way to start implementing commonsense solutions.”
The Initiative builds upon a template established in 2010-2011, when NVTC and Sen. Warner partnered with the U.S. Army to help design technology and business processes fixes for Arlington National Cemetery. An NVTC team worked with Cemetery officials to produce a comprehensive blueprint to correct and modernize the cemetery’s IT and business practices. Sen. Warner’s provision requires the Secretary of the VA to enlist a task force of technology companies to review “the needs of the Department with respect to the scheduling system and scheduling software,” and to report within 45 days with specific actions to improve scheduling and software. The Secretary is instructed to implement these recommendations within one year of receiving the pro bono assessment.