IT Spending

A GAO report says VA health care is unsafe in part due to its outdated IT systems that require a significant update despite IT spending in the billions.

What the heck did VA spend all that money on?

Over the past decade, VA spent billions on what we thought were IT upgrades to all of its IT systems including VA’s health care records system. But GAO says that system is so outdated that it contributes to an unsafe environment for veterans seeking care.

RELATED: VA Sweetie Wins Part Of $22 Billion IT Contract

The GAO audit also called out VA for its own perceived failure to properly allocate the billions it blew threw on proper systems for modernization. The money was there, but where did the money go?

RELATED: VA Busted For $100 Million Shopping Spree

It went to capitalist cronies, no doubt, repaying political favors with shadow bills for IT services that were either inflated or did not occur. That is my guess where the money went.

READ IT: GAO Audit Report On VA IT Challenges

IT SPENDING, WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?

Here is a cut and paste of the executive summary of the GAO audit:

What GAO Found

In February 2015, GAO designated Veterans Affairs (VA) health care as a high-risk area based on its concerns about the department’s ability to ensure the quality and safety of veterans’ health care in five broad areas, one of which was information technology (IT) challenges. Of particular concern at that time was the failed modernization of an outpatient appointment scheduling system, suspended development of a system that was to electronically store and retrieve information about surgical implants, and the extent of system interoperability—the ability to exchange information—with the Department of Defense (DOD), which present risks to the timeliness, quality, and safety of VA health care.

Subsequent to the designation of VA health care as high risk, GAO completed evaluations that identified additional IT management challenges at VA.

In August 2015, GAO reported on VA’s efforts to achieve electronic health record interoperability with DOD and noted that (1) the two departments had engaged in several near-term efforts to expand interoperability and (2) VA and DOD had moved forward with plans to separately modernize their electronic health record systems. However, of significant concern was that VA (and DOD) had not identified outcome-oriented goals and metrics that would clearly define what it aims to achieve from its efforts. GAO recommended that VA develop goals and metrics, among other things. VA concurred with the recommendations and stated that it has initiated actions in response.

VA had made progress in developing and implementing its Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), with deployment of the initial version of the system. However, in September 2015, GAO reported that the development and implementation of the system was ongoing and noted three areas that could benefit from increased management attention: cost estimating, system availability, and system defects. The report also noted that VA had neither conducted a customer satisfaction survey nor developed goals for improving the system. GAO recommended that VA develop a plan with a time frame and a reliable cost estimate for completing VBMS, establish goals for system response time, minimize the incidences of high and medium severity system defects for future VBMS releases, assess user satisfaction, and establish satisfaction goals to promote improvement. VA agreed with the recommendations and noted steps it was taking to address them.

Due to recent increases in utilization of VA care in the community, the department has had difficulty processing claims in a timely manner. In May 2016, GAO reported that VA officials and claims processing staff indicated that IT limitations, manual processes, and staffing challenges had delayed claims processing. The department had implemented interim measures to address some of the system’s challenges, but did not expect to deploy solutions to address all challenges, including those related to IT, until fiscal year 2018 or later. Further, VA did not have a sound plan for modernizing its claims processing system, which GAO recommended it develop. The department concurred with this recommendation and stated that it intended to address the recommendation through the planned consolidation of its care in the community programs.

Why GAO Did This Study

VA relies on IT to meet its mission and effectively serve the nation’s veterans. Over the past several years, the department has expended billions of dollars to manage and modernize its information systems. However, VA has experienced challenges in managing its IT, raising questions about the effectiveness of its IT operations. GAO has previously reported on a number of the department’s IT initiatives.

This statement summarizes results from key GAO reports issued between 2010 and 2014 highlighting IT challenges that have contributed to GAO’s designation of VA health care as a high risk area. It also describes additional challenges that GAO more recently identified in 2015 and 2016 that are related to increasing the electronic exchange of VA’s health records with those of DOD, development and use of VBMS, and the department’s modernization of its health care claims processing system.

What GAO Recommends

GAO has made numerous recommendations to VA to improve the modernization of its IT systems. Among other things, GAO has recommended that VA address challenges associated with its efforts to modernize its electronic health record system to increase interoperability with DOD, develop goals and metrics as a basis for determining the extent to which VA’s and DOD’s modernized electronic health records systems are achieving interoperability, address shortcomings with VBMS planning and implementation, and develop a sound written plan for deploying its modernized claims processing system. VA has concurred with these recommendations and has some actions ongoing.

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly
The software used by the VA is Vista. There are more advanced and lower cost to maintain software systems available that not only better than the Vista system but also would be interoperable with the DOD System if they also chose to upgrade their system. There is no reasonable excuse for throwing $10s of billions away on the Vista system annually. The problems with the VA software is also going to be a subject addressed in the Commission on Care’s… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf

@Seymore Klearly
Isn’t it “coincidental” Obama wants to move to New York.
It’s been reported he had/has ties to organized crime in Chicago.
I wonder if he’s got his fingers in on some of those BILLIONS of taxpayers monies?

____________________________

What was that “meeting” all about in Phoenix, Az.? Can’t seem to find anything on it.

Seymor Klearly
Seymor Klearly
Hey Elf, It was ABC News 15 that broke the story when they asked the Attorney General about the meeting at a press conference. She was holding the conference regarding her current tour of police stations. It was a highly inappropriate meeting and both Clinton and Lynch thought they were going to get away with the meeting behind all the security and holding the meeting in a DOJ jet at the airport after her plane was parked away from prying… Read more »
Albert Dodd
Well with Thomas Murphy replacing Danny Pummill who replaced Alison Hickey. We can now expect road blocks to stall the system. This should give them time to get more money from US Citizens to cover the money they already wasted. Since Allison Hickey left office exactly how many Claims have been processed from the backlog? When she was in office my regional office would never give me a C/P exam for 25 years. And I contacted her and asked for… Read more »
namnibor
Anyone else notice how many times the VA’s response includes relatively ‘past-tense’ phrases in response whether it be the GOA, OIG, Congress, et al, when the VA uses the phrases, “We intended on”, “VA concurred with the recommendations and stated that it has initiated actions in response”, and “intended to address the recommendation through the planned consolidation of its care in the community programs”??!! INTENTIONS are so very different than ACTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AUDIT and FOLLOW THE DAMN $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. My private medical… Read more »
namnibor
I wanted to add this: Just how long will it be before we hear the VA announce that they have been financially hacked and all $$$ drawn out to some undisclosed offshore entity as an excuse to beg for even MORE $$$ for IT….because we were hacked? Because we never did studies on the security of the system nor even stress-tested same system or even Beta Tested??? Having JUST gone through a major theft out of my bank account ($$… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

They have probably been hack thousands of times and lost the money. It just that they have so many fingers on the money, when it is gone VA employees just figure someone else beat them to it. So it goes unreported.

crazy elf
crazy elf
As everyone has said; “FOLLOW THE DAMN MONEY!” There’s more to this than we know. I believe the American taxpayers and veterans are NOT being told the whole story! Hell, I believe the American taxpayers, and veterans, don’t even know what’s transpiring within our government! Especially over the large amounts of monies being spent on everything! We’re at over $20 TRILLION in debt right now! Why? I also believe IF the Main Stream Media were to ever publish the truth,… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf

I guess everyone has heard. The U.S. is going to “bail out” Puerto Rico as soon as the President signs the order. Probably today or tomorrow!

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly
Elf, The reality is that members of congress, the senate and the President are just giving themselves a big bonus. The reason why I say this is that all of the debt in Puerto Rico has been bought out by Vulture Hedge Funds for pennies on the dollar because the Puerto Rico was going under. Now that the Vulture Hedge Funds own all of the debt the congress, the senate and the president are willing to donate our tax dollars… Read more »
namnibor
You hit a great point and that is the HUGE amount of APATHY amongst most Americans these days. This became more ‘sunk-in’ when just the other day I was talking with my neighbor whom is a Surviving Widow of a Veteran Husband that died from Agent Orange related diseases and I brought-up the fact of Mr. Murphy being appointed to VBA after him being notoriously an Agent Orange denier. My neighbor’s response was very typical, “They will do whatever they… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf

@namnibor

Yep. “Apathy” can really cause a great nation to crumble!
I’ve heard the same from others down here.

crazy elf
crazy elf

@namnibor

Just like what was shown on our local news down here yesterday.
When the local AG was asked why certain words were deleted from the 911 calls that “Radicalized Islamic Muslim Extremist Terrorist” made the night he “…killed 49 people and wounded 53 more!”
Words like; “Jihad”, “ISIS” and more. They, the AG, even tried to say he “…never spoke in Arabic!”
All of which has been disputed by individuals who were there, and lived through the carnage!

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly
Hey Elf, Regarding the shootings in Florida. “FBI asks agencies who responded to Pulse to deny records requests” Orlando Sentinel June 29th,2016 5:53 pm “he FBI has asked law enforcement agencies who responded to Pulse nightclub to withhold records from the public, according to officials. A June 20 letter from the FBI, attached to the City or Orlando’s lawsuit over withholding 911 calls and other records from 25 media outlets including the Orlando Sentinel, was also sent to the Seminole… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

The link to the article is:

“http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/os-fbi-letter-law-enforcement-20160629-story.html”

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly
Elf here is another one from the Daily caller on the FBI requesting silence on the shooting. “Obama Admin Tells Florida Agencies To Deny Public Records Requests On Orlando Attack” By Derek Hunter “While Attorney General Loretta Lynch holds firm to her claim that the motive of Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen may never be known, the FBI is instructing Florida agencies that responded to the attack that night to deny requests for public records pertaining to the case. Mateen called… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf
@Seymore Klearly Just got this email. From: “WND FRONT PAGE” title; “Loretta Lynch in Secret Meeting With Bill Clinton” by Bob Unruh Jun 30, 2016 They talked “…about Grandchildren and Golf…” for “…about 30 minutes!” At least that’s the “story” she gave the MSM out there! Give me a freaking break! How many of y’all believe this? If anyone believes that horse manure story, I’ve got some bridges for sale! I have a feeling this “secret meeting” is going to… Read more »
Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly
Elf , Given Lynch had her husband sit in on the meeting it was no doubt to primarily discuss the Lynch families payoff. Have to remember that Lynch is the person refusing to prosecute Veterans Administrations employees. Also she is also refusing to go after the VA for refusing to enforce the law enacted to fire criminals at the VA. She claims the law is unconstitutional. Remember how she even refused to prosecute Graves and Ruben. Department of Justice what… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf

@Seymore Klearly

That’s one way to enrich yourself. Tell the people involved – “IF this, (pay off), doesn’t happen – This, (indictment), WILL happen!”

crazy elf
crazy elf
@Seymore Klearly, namnibor and all others. NBC out of Virginia is reporting an “active shooter at the hospital on Andrews AFB!” Some think it could be a “drill”. There was a drill scheduled for this morning at 9 am. Yet, the MSM is on overload! _________________ Question about this IT crap and VA healthcare. Don’t y’all think the VA should hire “qualified healthcare providers”. Before blame is put on the computers used? It seem to me having a great computer… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf

@Seymore Klearly

This incident down here at the “Pulse Nightclub” is really starting to piss off the LGBTQ COMMUNITIES! Especially with the many Government agencies trying to keep everything quiet.
People are starting to question the agencies responsible for the ongoing “cover-up”!
I really do believe it won’t take much more to “light up” many of these posers asses!
How much more B/S is the American Citizen going to take. Before all hell breaks loose on our alleged leaders?

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly
Elf, Seems pretty certain the leadership of our country is trying to cause a summer of chaos leading up to the election. Same play book as they have been using overseas in numerous counties around the world. Demonstrating moral decay, unrestrained corruption, and total injustice to all Americans. They clearly are trying to change everything we are about as a country. We have seen it repeatedly happening to Veterans not only do we have one of the most unjust systems… Read more »
crazy elf
crazy elf

Seymore
This could be a way of ushering in Martial Law and stopping the voting process come November!

Just thinking out loud AGAIN.

namnibor

A long Federal Holiday weekend approaches. Wonder what variety of steaming poo will be unloaded at 4ish pm on Friday, counting on warm and fuzzy veteran stories and short attention spans to forget by Tuesday? Wait for it. The VA Bowels are quite regular. 🙂

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

I know what you mean Namnibor. Just waiting to see what kind of poo it is.

Oh and for a short break from reality while waiting you might want to check out the picture of the Bowl of Fruit Loops and the future of the military.

“Trans Service Members Detail Historic Meeting With Defense Secretary”

“http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/trans-service-members-detail-historic-meeting-defense-secretary-n601676”

crazy elf
crazy elf
This one came out on “Military.com” yesterday. “Fireworks Season Can Trigger PTSD For Veterans” Good article. I wish there was a way to get that sign saying something like; “Combat Veteran Lives Here” – “Please Be Respectful with your fireworks” Or something like that! Getting to the point to go to a motel FAR away for these types of nights. Plus the fact, most people don’t even know the “WHY” we celebrate the “4th” anymore. They sure aren’t told the… Read more »
Ralph D Carmona Sr
Ralph D Carmona Sr

or don’t know how to answer

redturtle984
redturtle984

I am an extremely talented multi lingual individual and I can see that my services as translator are needed to translate VA speak into everyday common English. The phrase, “VA concurs and has some ongoing actions.” is generally translated for the English public as, “Thank you for your opinion, now shut up and go away.”

There are variations regionally in dialect but this is the root of that phrase.

IT_PM_USN
IT_PM_USN
This is a full menu of Dilbertesque failure. I’ve just spent 18 months project-managing a VHA IT project, eating this daily. One dish at a time: –“…raising questions about the effectiveness of its IT operations.” This is government-speak understatement. In partial defense of the VA IT staff workers, their minimal training is out of date because they’ve never been required to do other than the absolute minimum, and they don’t even know what they don’t know. Nobody in the organization… Read more »
namnibor

It would seem prudent for the VA/VHA to consider IT *both* a Project and a Program…always need to be up to date and up to date security measures, of which, I can only imagine the VA having one of those sticky flytraps you hang from ceiling with a phone line attached to it, thinking that bad guys will simply stick to the tape. 🙂

Don Avant

Just wondering why links don’t work…or is it just me…If I want to see what’s in a link I have to cut and paste it…

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

It is a safety feature to prevent anyone from just posting links to viruses or malicious software. It also prevent this site from being blacklisted because of links to viruses or malicious software.

Great question Don.

Jo3n
All I read were recommendations to the VA. Who follows that? The VA is a clusterfu… Administration officials are to blame. We, or I have no idea what the Administrator memos their Dr.’s, but, that’s where a major problem lay. Dr’s are on an agenda that may or may not, have anything to do with me. I have been under VA psychiatrist care foe over 20 years. Once I left NCPTS, in Menlo Park, Ca., Not one psychiatrist is willing… Read more »
js03

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting different results every time.

When somebody sane comes along and points out that insanity, the current insane administration finds a way to get rid of them. They say “Don’t rock the boat!”

James Alto
James Alto

Quote Forest Gump. “Stupid is as Stupid does”.

redturtle984
redturtle984

If he definition of insanity is as above, then I would suggest that America is insane. My proof is that we are getting ready to elect another President…

91Veteran
91Veteran
Interesting. Does this mean GAO will do a follow up report in a year and say more needs to be done? No customer satisfaction survey? That’s easy. It’s because a huge majority at the VA don’t give a shit about their “customers”, or believe their customers are other than veterans. On the issue of record sharing with the DOD, I find it a prime example of government bureaucracy moving slowly. Shortly after the first Gulf War, Congress mandated better record… Read more »
redturtle984
redturtle984
The GAO has determined that the .despite billions invested and the best crew they could find that the VHA Titanic is indeed sinking. VHA Titanic concurs and is addressing the issue. OIG was sent to investigate the scene. The put their top man on it. He tried to determine if the iceburg was just Republican bait, a topic he had mastered many times. However after the head of OIG released all he had, the VA was still indeterminate about the… Read more »
91Veteran
91Veteran

I didn’t mention this in my previous comment, but USA Today has a pretty damning report today on the VA Suicide Hotline.
35 to 50% of the calls roll over to their backup center because their primary hotline is staffed by lazy people who want to leave their shift early.

…but Gibson assures us he’s pissed off.

Robin Mitchell
I am trying to use the DEA/Chapter 35 benefits. Bob McDonald had a human computer call me spitting out numbers but no answers to questions. The computer system for that program can only take ONE change to your file per WEEK or it crashes your file and they have to redo it. Pretty simple: fulltime $1021 a month part-time $508 month. SO far since last AUGUST I received $230, $35, a BILL for $66, and now $204. Instead of paying… Read more »
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