oday, legislation introduced by Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01), Chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs (HVAC), and Congressman Tracey Mann, Ranking Member, to improve oversight of VA's Community Care Program advanced out of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs markup, setting the bill up to be voted on on the House floor. The bipartisan bill would require the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to deactivate ineligible providers from its Community Care Network and help mitigate both the risk of veterans receiving care from unqualified health care providers and of VHA making payments to fraudulent providers.
"I'm pleased the Committee has voted to advance my legislation to require VA to improve its processes for identifying and removing ineligible health care providers from the Community Care Program," said Congressman Pappas. "Having any number of ineligible providers active in VHA's Community Care Program puts veterans at risk of receiving care from unqualified providers, and it additionally puts VA at risk of making fraudulent payments to these providers. We heard during the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee legislative hearing last week that VA is taking steps to implement the Government Accountability Office's recommendations, but their progress has been slow, and this legislation is needed to hold VA accountable and ensure our veterans are receiving only the highest quality care."
Specifically, the legislation would require VA to carry out a plan to improve its processes for identifying and removing ineligible healthcare providers from the Community Care Program, including:
Performing automated continuous checks of providers in its Community Care networks against multiple exclusionary data sources the federal government maintains
Conducting a fraud risk analysis and an examination of existing fraud controls within the Office of Community Care
Submitting a report to Congress on its progress carrying out the plan and recommendations for future legislative action to further improve the methods by which VA identifies health care providers that are not eligible to participate in the Community Care Program
In January, Pappas and Mann were joined by Congresswoman Julia Brownley and Congressman Jack Bergman in a bipartisan letter calling for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to deactivate ineligible providers from its Community Care Network.