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C’mon, VA, do the right thing!

There are thousands of veterans waiting for the Veterans’ Administration to streamline disability evaluations.  While they wait, the VA dithers.

This has dragged on for more than a year, a year in which the GAO pummelled the VA for failing to comply with its own contracting standards when awarding contracts to a huge defense contractor – Lockheed Martin – that has almost NO experience in disability evaluations.

According to a piece in Politico earlier this year;

the GAO “citing “prejudicial errors” has directed the Department of Veteran Affairs to go back to the drawing board…the office “recommended that the VA reopen negotiations with the offerers, solicit, obtain, and evaluate revised proposals; and make new source selection decisions” [emphasis added]

Oh, and the VA “misled two of the protestors during the conduct of discussions or negotiations.  These errors led the VA to make source selection decisions…that were unreasonable…” [emphasis added].

One of the protesting bidders – Veterans Evaluation Services – published an ad in yesterday’s WSJ calling on Trump to fix this.  Here’s hoping this gets results.  (disclosure – I’ve done work for VES in the past)

And fast, because our veterans have been waiting for far too long.



7 thoughts on “C’mon, VA, do the right thing!”

  1. I have no doubt whatsoever that President-Elect Trump will fix this issue. It is disgraceful that these civil servants have been allowed to dither and still receive their bonuses.

  2. The VA was over 100,000 evaluations behind when Obama came into office. The war in Iraq increased the problem significantly. Additionally, in many cases non-specialist are making decisions on these cases. Orthopedic issues evaluated by non-orthos just to name one category. It’s a travesty in my opinion. The number of examinations being undertaken improved during the Obama years (more outsourcing) but not nearly enough to catch up with demand. To answer one question above, LM directly contracts with physicians.

  3. Joe: What leads you to believe “Lockheed Martin has almost no experience in disability evaluations”? The contract awards you reference were actually made in part to QTC Services who admittedly is a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin. But QTC Services has been providing disability evaluations for over 30 years. Their network of physicians have provided millions of them for the VA alone. They are one of the incumbents on the contract and they have been providing this service to the VA for over 15 years.

    QTC’s CEO and COO are military veterans. Lockheed/QTC employs thousands of military veterans. To suggest Lockheed/QTC doesn’t have the veterans best interest at heart would be foolish if not self serving.

    You admit that the bid protester, VES, is a client of yours. If you’re going to take a shot at their competitors like you have above then please try and get your facts straight.

    1. Hi Jeff – good to hear from you.

      Allow me to respond to your points in order.

      First, you are indeed correct that QTC has done a lot of evaluations. However, as you note, their former parent company had no experience in these evaluations.

      Second, I never in any way suggested QTC or Lockheed didn’t “have the veterans best interest at heart.” I have no idea why you would make that statement.

      Third, the only data I’m aware of indicates QTC’s past performance was below standard, and well behind their competitor – VES – a company which I did a one-day consulting project for a year ago.

      This from testimony from Tom Murphy before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on 06/25/14: “The VBA contractors have two different performance standards based on what year those contracts were awarded. One of the contractors is on a 20-day standard (which is VES) and they are currently performing at 17 days. The other contractors are on a 38-day standard (which is QTC) and they are currently delivering in 39 days.”

      Finally, my post was NOT about any particular vendor, but about the VA’s failure to follow their own procurement guidelines, and the subsequent harm caused to veterans waiting for an MDE.

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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