U.S. Representatives David McKinley P.E. (R-W.Va.), Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), and Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) introduced bipartisan legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide detailed reports on patient safety and quality of care at VA Medical Centers.
The Improving Safety and Security for Veterans Act of 2019 (H.R. 5616) was introduced following several suspicious deaths of veterans at the Clarksburg VA Medical Center. The bill ensures that Congress is fully informed on the policies and procedures in place across the VA nationally. The bill also requires that once the investigation at the Clarksburg VA concludes, that the VA provide Congress with a detailed report and timeline of the events.
"We cannot begin to understand the grief and anger of the families whose loved ones died under suspicious circumstances at the Clarksburg VA," said McKinley. "The goal of this bill is to ensure transparency and accountability. It will also provide Congress with a better understanding of what happened in Clarksburg, and how to prevent it from ever happening again."
"The men and women of the United States Armed Forces have sacrificed so much for our country to defend our freedom and safety, and they deserve the highest quality of care when they return home," said Miller. "This legislation will bring transparency and accountability to the tragedies at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg. I am committed to helping ensure that our Veterans have confidence they will receive the best and safest healthcare and treatment possible at our VA Hospitals."
"I was deeply saddened to hear of the suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths of veterans at Clarksburg's Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Our veterans and their families deserve the best treatment available," said Mooney. "This bill will provide the families of those who passed away with the answers to what went wrong after the criminal investigations conclude. The bill will also help determine what measures are necessary to prevent an instance like this from ever happening again."
"The last thing that a veteran should worry when getting treated at a VA hospital is his or her safety," said Panetta. "Our bipartisan bill increases transparency and accountability in order to ensure that all veterans get the care that they need and deserve."
"After the tragic and senseless murders of Retired Army Sergeant Felix McDermott, a resident of southwestern Pennsylvania, and at least nine others at the Clarksburg VA medical facility, it is clear Congress needs to take action to protect our nation's veterans," said Reschenthaler. "I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Improving Safety and Security for Veterans Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation which will provide answers for the victims' families and ensure we are doing more to protect veterans receiving care through the VA."