July 28, 2014

Pocan cites red tape related to veterans services

Freshman Congressman Mark Pocan tells constituents that he sees firsthand, the red tape in Washington including services affecting veterans.

As the Department of Defense and the Veterans Affairs Department work toward a joint electronic health record system, Pocan criticized the V.A.’s decision to internally develop the project.

“Their solution, hire people to create a system from scratch. It takes six years to do it and I think it’s about $40 billion,” he said, adding the system will be “antiquated” by the time it’s developed.  He said while they were successful in getting D.O.D to look into utilizing an expert vendor, V.A. refuses to.

The Democratic lawmaker also cited a manufacturer of prosthetic limbs coming forward saying it wasn’t being paid for its devices being used by injured veterans. While these companies used to receive payments from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in about three weeks, recent federal efforts to investigate fraud have led to “90 percent” of vendors being denied payment. After a lengthy appeals process, he said most vendors get approved for payment, a year and a half later.

Pocan, a small business owner himself, said his office is trying to help companies which are running into problems while doing business with the federal government.