Walorski Bills to Update VA Mobility Standards, Increase VA Scheduling Accountability Pass Committee
Veterans Mobility Safety Act Would Ensure Disabled Veterans Receive the Best Quality and Safety in Mobility Products; VA Scheduling Accountability Act Would Block VA from Waiving Scheduling Rules
WASHINGTON – The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee today passed two bills introduced by U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) to improve the quality and safety of mobility products used by disabled veterans and to protect veterans from scheduling manipulations at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities. The committee unanimously approved an amended version of H.R. 3471, the Veterans Mobility Safety Act, as well as H.R. 4977, the VA Scheduling Accountability Act, which now head to the House floor for consideration.
“Our veterans risked life and limb for their country, and they deserve better than substandard services and scheduling manipulation,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “I’m grateful the committee passed my bills to update the VA’s standards for mobility products used by disabled veterans and to stop the VA from ignoring its own scheduling rules. I look forward to voting for these common-sense measures on the House floor.”
Veterans Mobility Safety Act
Through the VA’s Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program, eligible disabled veterans have access to automotive mobility products, such as wheelchair lifts and reduced-effort steering and braking in vehicles. However, the VA does not require any type of quality standards for providers to participate in the AAE program, resulting in some cases of inferior providers improperly installing equipment, causing serious safety issues for veterans and motorists.
Walorski’s amended version of H.R. 3471 requires the VA to update its outdated policies on adaptive equipment with comprehensive quality standards developed in close consultation with stakeholders, including veteran service organizations, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and industry representatives.
H.R. 3471 was originally introduced in September by Walorski and Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26) to ensure disabled veterans receive the best quality, performance, and safety.
Video of Walorski’s remarks on the Veterans Mobility Safety Act is available here.
VA Scheduling Accountability Act
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.
The committee unanimously approved Walorski’s bill as an amendment to H.R. 3956, the VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12).
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.