WASHINGTON — Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., has joined her colleagues in sending a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs and another letter to the Department of Education, calling for action after the release of two different Government Accountability Office reports.
One letter, dated Oct. 3, calls on the VA to take action following a Feb. 28 GAO report that said some of the VA’s Veterans Health Administration facilities had hired ineligible providers.
The report reads in part:
“VHA facilities did not consistently adhere to policies regarding providers with adverse actions. Among other issues, GAO found that some facility officials were not aware of VHA employment policies. ... VHA provides mandatory onetime training for certain VHA staff, but not for staff responsible for credentialing. ... VHA officials described steps they have taken to better ensure that providers meet licensure requirements. For example, VHA completed a onetime review of all licensed providers beginning in December 2017 and removed 11 providers who did not meet the licensure requirements as a result of this review.”
The senators are requesting information from the VA about the steps it will take.
The other letter was sent to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Tuesday regarding the Department of Education’s management of the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, after the GAO released a report saying the program from May 2018 to May 2019 rejected 99% of applicants, used only 4% of funds appropriatedby Congress to aid borrowers, and used an application process that “is not clear to borrowers.”
Hassan advocated for the creation of the new TEPSLF program last year to reduce barriers to student loan forgiveness for Americans who pursue careers in the military, education, public health and other public service work.
The senators request information regarding the Department’s future administration of the program, including a timeline and description of how the Department will comply with GAO’s recommendations; measures the Department will take if deadlines to improve TEPSLF administration are not met; an action plan for all concerns raised about TEPSLF administration to date, as requested by members of Congress in June 2018; and any other actions the Department will take to improve TEPSLF administration and improve approval rates.