WASHINGTON D.C. – As part of the ongoing investigation into the wait time scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the House Veterans Affairs’ Committee, introduced legislation to increase accountability in the VA’s scheduling practices.
A report by the VA Office of Inspector General (IG) 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, the VA Scheduling Accountability Act, 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.
“Allowing VA facilities to certify their own compliance was a key driver in the wait time scandal, in which veterans allegedly died waiting for an appointment,” Walorski said. “My legislation ends this reckless practice once and for all, while increasing accountability and transparency at the VA as we work to ensure that those who risked their lives for their country receive the prompt, quality care they deserve.”
The House Veterans Affairs’ Subcommittee on Health will be holding a legislative hearing on April 20, 2016. At that hearing, Rep. Walorski’s legislation will be examined, among other proposals.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.