Roe Statement on House Passage of Bills to Bring Accountability to the VA
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) released the following statement after two bills – the Biological Implant Tracking and Veterans Safety Act and the Ensuring VA Employee Accountability Act – to bring accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) passed the House with broad, bipartisan support:
“The very first bills passed by the House in the 115th Congress are bipartisan bills to bring much-needed accountability to the VA, and that is not a coincidence. These important pieces of legislation are just two of many steps House Republicans are taking to reform the VA.
“These commonsense reforms will help ensure veterans receive the quality health care they deserve while also holding VA employees who fail in their duty to care for veterans accountable. As I’ve said time and time again, I know the vast majority of VA employees get up and go to work every day with the sole intention of serving our veterans. It’s unfair to these hardworking men and women that the Department continually refuses to hold bad actors accountable. As Chairman, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate, as well as President-elect Trump and the Trump administration, to fundamentally change the way the VA does business.”
The Biological Implant Tracking and Veterans Safety Act directs the VA secretary to adopt the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) unique device identification system (UDI) for labeling of all biological implants and to implement an automated inventory system to ensure veterans do not receive expired or otherwise contaminated tissue. In January 2014, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that the VA does not use a standardized process for tracking biological tissue from cadaver donor to living veteran recipient. In the event of a recall, it would often be impossible to track down which patient received contaminated tissue. The same GAO report detailed the Veterans Health Administration’s failure to consistently ensure they are purchasing tissue from biological implant vendors that have registered with the FDA.The Ensuring VA Employee Accountability Act, introduced by Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA), would require all reprimands and admonishments given to VA employees to remain in their file as long as they are employed by the Department. Under current policy, an admonishment and reprimand can only stay on an employee’s record for two and three years, respectively.