Federal News Network
June 3, 2020
The Department of Veterans Affairs does not have on-demand coronavirus testing for its employees up and running just yet, despite its best intentions to screen anyone who presented symptoms or believed they had been exposed.
VA has tested about 12% of its health workforce for the virus, Richard Stone, executive-in-charge at the Veterans Health Administration, told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Wednesday afternoon.
His comments contrast with those the department made one week ago before another congressional committee, when Jennifer MacDonald, chief consultant to the deputy VA undersecretary for health, told a House appropriations subcommittee any symptomatic employee or anyone who wanted a test could be screened.
“We’re not hearing that,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), the committee’s ranking member, said. “We’re not hearing that from the folks on the ground. We’re still hearing that they’re not being tested.”
“Senator, you are exactly right, we’re not there yet,” Stone said. “Although we’ve tested over 12% of our employees, and it is our intent to have on-demand testing for all of our employees, we’re not there yet.”