One Year After Delivering VA, Our Fight Continues
Nearly a year ago, President Trump signed into law sweeping legislation to bring accountability to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The law – called the VA Accountability and Whistle-blower Protection Act – is designed to hold bad-acting employees responsible for their actions and provide necessary protections for whistle-blowers who come forward with allegations of misconduct.
Together with my colleagues on the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I was proud to help shepherd the historic legislation into law, which will have an impact on all VA hospitals in the U.S., including our state’s VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System and VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, and help deliver better care to our veterans.
Among key provisions, the law gives the secretary of the VA the authority to expedite the removal of a bad employee swiftly and ensures an individual removed from the VA is not kept on the VA’s payroll while appealing that decision.
This is particularly important as before our bill became law, bureaucratic red tape stopped the VA from taking these common sense steps to hold substandard workers accountable.
But while last year’s law is commendable, and represents a major breakthrough from how the VA previously operated, there’s more work to do.
That’s why I’m urging Congress to pass my legislation that prevents the VA from hiding medical mistakes made by medical providers. The VA Provider Accountability Act, a bill I introduced with Senator Joe Manchin (DWV), requires the VA to report major adverse actions to the National Practitioner Data Bank and state licensing boards. It will also prohibit the VA from signing settlements with fired or dismissed VA employees that allow the VA to conceal serious medical errors or purge negative records from personnel files.