AMVETS in Action

Tag: veterans health care

VA Announces Personnel Actions

June 25, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced several personnel actions aimed at accelerating Veterans’ access to quality health care and rebuilding the trust of America’s Veterans.

At the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Leadership Summit this week in Washington, Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson announced that, effective July 2, Dr. Carolyn Clancy will be named interim Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Clancy will spearhead the Department’s immediate efforts to accelerate Veterans’ access to care.

“Dr. Carolyn Clancy is a leader and a real innovator when it comes to Veterans’ health care quality and safety. As we conduct our search for an Under Secretary for Health, there’s no one better to take on the issues we face,” said Acting Secretary Gibson. “Dr. Clancy will be charged with the Department’s top priority – getting Veterans off of wait lists and in to see their doctors. She will also lead our efforts on immediate, national reforms to accelerate access to care and restore trust among our Veterans, and I’m grateful to her for taking on this critical role.”

Dr. Clancy has been at VA since August of 2013, serving as the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Quality, Safety and Value. Prior to her appointment at VA, Dr. Clancy, a general internist, served as Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Dr. Robert L. Jesse, current Acting Under Secretary for Health, will complete his four-year term as Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health on July 2nd. A commission of health care experts and industry leaders is currently assessing candidates for recommendation to the Secretary and President on a permanent Under Secretary.

The Department today also announced that Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, Chief Medical Officer and President, Clinical Services for Hospital Corporation of America, will commence a short term assignment at VA as a Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary. Dr. Perlin, who previously served as VA Under Secretary for Health, is also chair-elect of the American Hospital Association. Dr. Perlin will be taking a leave of absence from his current duties.

“We’re pleased to welcome this exceptional leader back to VA,” Gibson added. “I look forward to the contributions of Dr. Perlin who is recognized for his national healthcare leadership roles, as part of the VA team as we continue our work towards accelerating access to care and rebuilding trust with Veterans.”

Additionally, Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson accepted the resignation of Will A. Gunn, General Counsel for the Department of Veterans Affairs, effective July 3. Principal Deputy General Counsel Tammy Kennedy will serve as Acting General Counsel.

Burn Pit Registry Opens for Lung and Other Health Conditions

June 19, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today the opening of the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry to help meet the needs of Veterans who have lung and other health conditions possibly related to their deployment to the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations. The Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry will enable VA to better assess the health of Veterans exposed to burn pits and other airborne hazards. The registry launch was postponed to allow adequate time to develop and test the software and hardware as well as to ensure data security and accessibility. Now that it is available, Veterans may participate and need not be enrolled in VA’s health care system to do so, because a registry is an epidemiological research tool and the receipt of a registry examination(s) and tests does not constitute the receipt of care. VA encourages all Veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, and the Gulf War to participate in the registry. Veterans should sign-up now for a Department of Defense Self-Service Logon (DS-Logon) in preparation for the launch of the registry. DS-Logon can be found at

This registry will enhance our understanding of any identified long-term adverse health effects of exposure to burn pits and other airborne hazards during deployment—ultimately leading to better health care.

Site Inspections to Restore Integrity to Scheduling Process

June 18, 2014

VA Initiates Monthly Site Inspections Across Veterans Health Facilities

WASHINGTON – Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson today directed all Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Medical Center and Health Care System Directors to conduct monthly in-person reviews of scheduling practices in every clinic within their jurisdiction. Site inspections will include observing daily scheduling processes and interacting with scheduling staff to ensure all policies are being followed to deliver Veterans the timely care they have earned.

“Our top priority is getting Veterans off of wait lists and into clinics said Acting Secretary Gibson. “We need our folks in the facilities to work directly with staff, answer all questions, and ensure our Veterans receive the timely care they have earned. Veterans must trust their health care system, and these reviews are an important step towards restoring integrity in all our scheduling activities.”
In addition to monthly reviews of over 900 Veterans Health Administration facilities nationwide, Veterans Integrated Service Network Directors will also conduct similar visits to at least one medical center within their area of responsibility every 30 days, completing visits to all medical centers in their network every 90 days.

This action follows the VA’s release of results from its nationwide Access Audit, along with facility-level patient access data.

VA Moves to Secure New Scheduling System

June 18, 2014

VA Holds Medical Appointment Scheduling System Industry Day

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) announced it is continuing the process to replace its medical appointment scheduling system through an acquisition process. Today, VA is hosting pre-solicitation “Industry Day” meetings with technology vendors to discuss the Department’s upcoming scheduling system acquisition.

“Our top priority is getting Veterans off waitlists and in to see their doctors,” said Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson. “We’re taking a series of immediate actions to ensure our Veterans receive the timely access to quality health care they have earned and deserve. We need lasting, long-term reforms, including a complete overhaul to replace the outdated technology for our scheduling system. Bringing an innovative scheduling product into our world-class electronic health record system is a crucial part of providing the scheduling staff in our facilities with the tools necessary to succeed. Our Veterans deserve nothing less than our best, and that’s exactly what we intend to give them.”

This Industry Day presents a unique opportunity for VA to communicate directly with potential vendors on all aspects of the upcoming scheduling system acquisition. The Industry Day serves as a face-to-face platform for exchanging information about business needs, industry best practices and challenges specific to VA’s scheduling system.

VA’s scheduling technical requirements are complex and require clear, well-articulated communication to ensure comprehensive understanding by industry and potential vendors. As part of today’s events, VA is conducting a live scheduling system architecture Q&A session to ensure potential solutions seamlessly interface with VA’s VistA electronic health record.

VA uses this type of event to facilitate communication with vendors and reduce the risk of misinterpretation and miscommunication on technical requirements. The information shared during the Industry Day will provide VA with a better understanding of what needs to be included in the upcoming scheduling system solicitation, with the ultimate goals of receiving solid proposals and reducing time to field new technologies.

Veterans Groups Pleased with President’s Budget But Note Deficiencies

Groups Urge $68 Billion for Veterans Health Care and Benefits in 2013 Independent Budget Report

WASHINGTON, DC—Four of the nation’s leading veterans service organizations are urging the Administration and Congress to invest $68 billion to sufficiently meet veterans health-care and benefits needs. As stated in President Obama’s budget proposal released yesterday, the Administration has proposed $64 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2013. The budget proposal now goes to Congress for consideration. Continue reading “Veterans Groups Pleased with President’s Budget But Note Deficiencies”