Michael Missal, Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs, details how his office makes recommendations to fix agency issues, and what challenges are facing the second-largest federal agency.
Compared to other agencies in the federal government, the Department of Veterans Affairs has several unique challenges. From healthcare to education benefits, services offered by the agency are vital to millions of Americans. Michael Missal, Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs, says that to solve these challenges, they sometimes look outside government for models and best practices. “We look outside VA, both at different places in the government and private healthcare systems as well. In a number of our reports, we will compare what the VA has done with the private sector to see the best practices, because so much of healthcare is not always black and white,” Missal told Government Matters. Missal says that while some issues have a long way to go before they are fixed, the inspector general office at VA always wants them to be solved efficiently and expediently. “It’s really VA who tells us what they think it is going to take to complete it. We obviously feel very strongly about these. We want them to complete that,” Missal said. “When we issue a report, we expect the recommendations to be completed within a year unless it’s a matter of patient safety or continuing harm, then we want them to do it sooner. For major management challenges, they tell us how long they think it is going to take.”