Post-9/11 veterans group outlines eight steps to fix VA

A group that supports post-9/11 veterans on Monday laid out eight steps it wants Congress and the Obama administration to take in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ scheduling scandal and resignation last week of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America said its plan would ensure accountability for “bad employees” and “incompetent managers,” in addition to helping VA keep up with growing demand.


(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Below are the measures that the group outlined:

1.) Appoint a post-9/11 veteran, or someone intimately familiar with their concerns, to run VA.

2.) Initiate a criminal investigation and punish violators to the full extent of the law.

3.) Implement the recommendations from the inspector general’s report that confirmed recent allegations of widespread scheduling manipulation.

4.) Pass the VA Accountability Management Act, which would give the VA secretary greater authority to fire senior executives over performance problems. The House passed the bill with overwhelming bipartisan support last month, and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has proposed a similar measure as part of a broad VA bill he pitched on Sunday.

5.) Support IAVA’s 2014 policy agenda, which includes proposals that range from overhauling training and technology for VA’s scheduling system to changing performance metrics to focus on quality of care.

6.) Fund VA to the levels recommended in the budget that a group of leading veterans groups proposed. The Independent Budget, as the annual plan is known, would provide $4 billion more than President Obama or Congress appropriated for discretionary medical services in 2014.

7.) Partner with nonprofit groups to help fill in the gaps when VA is struggling to meet demands.

8.) Take additional steps to prevent suicide among veterans, including issuing an executive order and passing legislation that would help ensure access to quality mental health care for former troops.

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Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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