Jul 14 2023
WASHINGTON–– The U.S. Senate Thursday passed legislation championed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide training to employees on reporting waste, fraud and abuse.
The VA OIG Training Act of 2023, bipartisan legislation Boozman introduced with Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), would enhance cooperation between VA staff and the VA Office of Inspector General (VA OIG).
“An important step to fulfilling the promise we made to the men and women who wore our nation’s uniform is ensuring the VA is effective, transparent and accountable. Empowering VA employees with the tools to identify and report wrongdoing will help safeguard the benefits veterans earned. I urge the House of Representatives to pass this bill so we can strengthen the services veterans rely on,” said Boozman, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Currently, the VA offers an optional, 45-minute whistleblower training to employees. However, many VA employees opt out of the training and often lack the skills to spot the early indicators of fraud and other potential crimes. This bill would make the one-time training mandatory for new employees of the department in order to reduce fraud and protect taxpayer dollars, in addition to allowing the VA OIG to contact VA employees via email at least twice per year without having to seek permission from the VA Secretary, as currently is the case.