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Dan Gilmore / May 14, 2015

VA Spends $6B a Year Without Soliciting Bids, Getting Contracts

Clearly, Congress needs to appropriate more money to help the Department of Veterans Affairs better serve veterans. Jan Frye, the senior VA official in charge of acquisition and logistics, sent the head of the VA a 35-page memo in March accusing the VA of violating federal rules governing the purchasing of supplies. “Doors are swung wide open for fraud, waste and abuse,” Frye wrote. “I can state without reservation that VA has and continues to waste millions of dollars by paying excessive prices for goods and services due to breaches of Federal laws.” In some instances, it was just easier to skirt the law, like using purchase cards — which are supposed to be used for orders under $3,000 — to buy $1.2 billion worth of prosthetics. Worse still, these purchases we done without contracts, which leaves the VA unprotected. Furthermore, from 2013 to 2014, the VA spent $5 billion on outsourcing medical care, but it did not solicit bids. While Congress dumped more money into the VA system last year, it is clear the real solution to reforming the VA involves making it efficient. But for that, it needs good management. More…

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