House passes bill to improve transparency at Clarksburg VA Medical Center

Washington, DC – Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed The Improving Safety and Security for Veterans Act of 2019, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives David McKinley (R-WV), Alex Mooney (R-WV) and Carol Miller (R-WV). The bill passed the Senate in December 2019 and will be sent to the President for approval.

This bipartisan legislation will require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to submit detailed reports on patient safety and quality of care at VA Medical Centers (VAMC) in light of the recent deaths of Veterans at the Clarksburg VAMC. The legislation ensures that Congress, Veterans, and their families are fully informed on the policies and procedures in place across the VA nationally. Additionally, this bill requires the VA, once the criminal investigations are completed, to submit a detailed report and timeline of events surrounding the deaths at the Clarksburg VAMC.

“I am pleased the House of Representatives unanimously passed this bipartisan, commonsense legislation that will help increase transparency at the VA. We have faced issues of transparency surrounding the murder of at least seven Veterans at the Clarksburg VAMC, resulting in a lack of confidence in the VA. I can’t imagine having a loved one murdered while in the VA’s care and after almost two years still not knowing the full picture. I look forward to the President signing this legislation into law and helping bring justice and peace of mind to our Veterans and their families,” said Senator Manchin. 

“The horrifying murders at the Clarksburg VAMC were a gruesome wakeup call underscoring the need for a more thorough look at security systems and procedures across the VAMC system. This bill is a step forward to help ensure our veterans are protected and safely cared for while in VA hands,” said Senator Capito.

“We cannot begin to understand the grief and anger of the families whose loved ones were killed at the Clarksburg VA,” said Representative McKinley. “Our bipartisan bill will ensure more transparency and accountability within the VA. It will also provide Congress with a better understanding of what happened in Clarksburg, and how to prevent it from ever happening again.”

“I was proud to vote for the Improving Safety and Security for Veterans Act, which will improve patient safety at VA medical facilities. Those who served our nation in the military deserve not only our utmost respect, but also our continued care once they leave military service. The murder of at least seven Veterans at the Clarksburg VA should never be allowed to happen again,” said Representative Mooney.

“As an original cosponsor of this legislation, I am glad that Congress was able to come together to bring necessary change and oversight of our VA Medical Centers in order to ensure that our veterans have confidence in the quality of health care they deserve,” said Representative Miller. “What happened at the Clarksburg and Beckley VA facilities this past year were absolute tragedies, and my heart goes out to the victims and the families of those who suffered. Through the passage of this bill, I am optimistic that Congress has taken lasting steps to restore faith in the VA healthcare system that our Veterans depend on.” 

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