The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) performed this review as required by the VA MISSION Act of 2018. VA has experienced chronic healthcare professional shortages since at least 2015, and the law requires annual reporting on steps taken to achieve full staffing and the additional funds needed to achieve that level. The law also requires VA to publicly release quarterly staffing and vacancy data. The OIG found VA partially complied with the law’s requirements, reporting current personnel and time-to-hire data as prescribed. However, VA’s initial reporting of staff vacancies and employee gains and losses was not transparent enough to allow stakeholders to track VA’s progress toward full staffing. This lack of compliance, if not corrected, may impact the transparency of VA’s future staffing and vacancy reporting. VA also did not follow specifications for reporting gains and losses quarterly as required, instead reporting annually without public explanation. VA should adjust its methodology for aggregating gains and losses to ensure data are reported appropriately and transparently. The OIG team identified opportunities for VA to improve its data reporting. VA’s public website only reported data for the current quarter and did not maintain historical versions of the published data. The overall transparency of VA’s staffing and recruitment website would be improved by maintaining historical data for public review. The OIG also found labeling errors in the reported information, indicating opportunities to improve the review process before publication. However, the OIG noted VA’s improvements in its administration of the reporting process which allowed for more precise quality reviews and greater assurance that the published data were accurate. The OIG recommended the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration ensure that staffing and vacancy data are reported as required, disclose limitations in the data, maintain historical data publicly, and update the methodology.
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
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Submitting OIG-Specific Report Number:
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Office of Human Resources and Administration
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