Press Releases

House Passes Roe Bill to Bring Accountability to the VA

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For Immediate Release, December 6, 2016 | Tiffany Haverly (202-226-8072) | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House unanimously approved the Ethical Patient Care for Veterans Act, legislation introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) to require clinicians practicing at the VA to report directly to state licensing boards whenever they witness unacceptable behavior from other VA clinicians. This is the same process that doctors in the private sector follow.

Currently, it takes at least 100 days for the VA to decide whether or not to refer a complaint of substandard health care practices reported to the VA to the state licensing board. 

Roe released the following statement on passage of the bill:  

“This bill will bring much-needed accountability to the VA. As a physician, I find it unacceptable that clinicians practicing at the VA could be fired for providing substandard care to veterans and move into private practice before their state licensing board is made aware of the complaints lodged against them, if they’re ever made aware at all. If we expect to change the culture at VA hospitals and clinics around the country, we must make reporting obligations at the VA consistent with existing professional ethical standards. My bill will ensure no bad actors at the VA slip through the cracks because of favoritism or corruption, and I encourage the Senate to take up this important legislation soon.”  

BACKGROUND: Currently, whenever VA receives a report of substandard health care practices, it takes at least 100 days to decide whether to refer the matter to a state licensing board. Under VHA Handbook 1100.18, allegations are investigated in five distinct stages and receive review at the local medical facility level, the Veterans Integrated Service Network level, and at the central office. This bill will require VA clinicians to report any wrongdoing directly to their state licensing board, providing timely notice of these serious allegations. A copy of the Ethical Patient Care for Veterans Act can be found here.
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