September 23, 2010

Health Subcommittee Holds Hearing on VHA Procurement System

For more information, contact: Brian Lawrence (202) 225-3527

Washington, D.C. Today, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on contracting and procurement within the Veterans Health Administration(VHA), during which Ranking Member Henry Brown (R-SC) made the following statement:

“VA’s troubled contracting and procurement processes have long been an issue of great concern to this Committee, and the subject of various Government Accountability Office (GAO) and VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) reports that continue to cite major deficiencies and material weaknesses.


Given the wide scope of VHA’s reach and budget, it is particularly important that we ensure that they have the proper procedures and oversight mechanisms in place to ensure procurement and contracting is done responsibly, appropriately, and with proper oversight.


In that vein, I am particularly concerned about testimony we heard by the Office of Inspector General that “…data in VA and VHA acquisition support information systems is incomplete and unreliable.”


Without accurate data, we have no idea what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong, where we are, where we’re going, and where we need help.


This is unacceptable within a system that is responsible for the care of our Nation’s veterans and has spent a little over nine billion dollars on health care goods and services within the last fiscal year alone.


At the top of our list should be efforts to streamline contracting and procurement processes to eliminate the potential for waste, fraud, and abuse while at the same time improving the cost and comfort of doing business with VA to ensure our veteran heroes have access to the highest quality medical care.


Although we are nearing the end of this legislative session, I am hopeful that we will be able to move legislation, H.R. 4221, the Department of Veterans Affairs Acquisition Improvement Act of 2009, introduced by our Ranking Member, Steve Buyer.  This bill, of which I am an original cosponsor, would correct the long-term procurement issues within VA and provide greater oversight of VA’s contracting and asset management processes.”