Following Sec. McDonald’s Disneyland Comments, House Passes Walorski VA Scheduling Accountability Bill
Legislation Would Block VA from Waiving Scheduling Directives
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today applauded the unanimous passage of her legislation to protect veterans from scheduling manipulations at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities. On the same day VA Secretary Robert McDonald compared veterans’ wait times to lines at Disneyland, the House passed Walorski’s bill, H.R. 4977, the VA Scheduling Accountability Act, as part of another VA reform bill.
“Secretary McDonald’s outrageous comments only underscore what we already knew: the VA does not take its responsibilities as seriously as our veterans deserve,” said Congresswoman Walorski, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Today the House took an important step to ensure veterans have access to timely, quality care by stopping the VA from ever again ignoring its own rules when it comes to scheduling appointments. The Senate should pass this bill immediately and send these common sense reforms to the president’s desk.”
Video of Walorski’s speech on the House floor in support of the legislation is available here.
Last week the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously approved H.R. 4977, the VA Scheduling Accountability Act, as an amendment to H.R. 3956, the VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act, which was introduced by Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12). The House today approved the amended version of H.R. 3956 by voice vote.
In the wake of the VA wait time scandal, Walorski introduced H.R. 4977 to increase accountability in the VA’s scheduling practices. A report by the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that in May 2013 a senior VA official waived an annual requirement that medical facility directors certify that they were in compliance with the VA’s scheduling policies. This waiver further reduced accountability for wait time data integrity and compliance with scheduling practices.
H.R. 4977 reinstates the annual requirement for each facility director to certify compliance with VA scheduling practices and prohibits any future waivers of this requirement. It also requires the Secretary of the VA to submit an annual report to Congress that lists facilities that have not certified compliance and an explanation as to why.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.