On Dec. 1, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner was joined by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald at a reception at the U.S. Capitol to thank NVTC for its pro bono work last year to improve the VA’s healthcare system following a nationwide crisis of veterans’ access to medical care.
In 2014, in response to reports of unacceptable wait times and systemic challenges facing military veterans seeking care, Congress passed comprehensive overhaul legislation to ensure timely access to necessary healthcare services. The bipartisan legislation, which was signed into law by the President on August 7, 2014, included Sen. Warner’s initiative to enlist the IT expertise of the NVTC member companies to assess and recommend fixes for the VA’s broken scheduling system. A core team of NVTC member companies, Booz Allen Hamilton, HP, IBM, The MITRE Corporation, and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), led the effort, dedicated their time, talent and expertise to assessing the VA’s challenges and recommending solutions to improve its scheduling processes, technologies, people, and culture and performance measures.
“The Northern Virginia Technology Council is made up of the country’s most well respected and innovative technology companies, and we have a very long and proud association with military veterans. When Senator Warner called and asked us to help with Veteran’s [Affairs], we were very honored to offer our assistance,” said NVTC President & CEO Bobbie Kilberg. “We joined on a pro bono basis to fix the business processes, the culture and the IT challenges, because it was the right thing to do.”
|From left: NVTC President & CEO Bobbie Kilberg, Sen. Mark Warner and Sec. Robert McDonald.|
At the event, Sen. Warner congratulated the NVTC member companies and leadership team and the VA for taking major steps towards ensuring veterans have access to the medical care they deserve.
“I want to thank the Northern Virginia Technology Council for offering their expertise to the VA. I also want to thank VA leadership for welcoming this excellent team and working with them to make these recommendations a reality,” Sen. Warner said. “This was a great collaboration between the private sector and the Department of Veterans Affairs that didn’t cost taxpayers a dime.”
|The NVTC Task Force team stands with VA Sec. McDonald (middle left) and Sen. Mark Warner (middle right).|
The NVTC team conducted a six-week assessment, including two onsite visits to the Richmond and Hampton VA Medical Centers. On Oct. 29, 2014, NVTC announced specific recommendations to improve VA’s scheduling processes, technologies, people and performance measures. At the event, Sec. McDonald announced that the VA has fully implemented 26 of the NVTC recommendations, and is committed to making all of the improvements recommended by NVTC.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled. I also want to thank our VA colleagues who demonstrated that open mind and that wiliness to learn to change. It’s great to see all of you here today celebrating this, which I hope will be the first of many times that we celebrate public private partnerships in order to help VA better serve veterans,” Secretary McDonald said at the event. “We want to be very thankful of all the companies in the room for your time and generosity… It was all pro bono work. Your ideas, your innovation, all of that has been a great help to us, but it also has been an inspiration for what we can achieve when we are willing to partner with the private sector.”
The partnership between the VA and NVTC builds upon a template established in 2011, when Sen. Warner and NVTC partnered with the U.S. Army to help design and implement a technology fix for Arlington National Cemetery after reports that the remains of warfighters had been misidentified and misplaced by Cemetery officials. An NVTC team worked with Cemetery officials to produce a comprehensive blueprint to correct and modernize the cemetery’s IT and business practices.