Bill to enforce license requirement for Dept. of Veterans Affairs passes unanimously

West Virginia

FILE – In this Aug. 30, 2019 file photo, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin talks to reporters outside of the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, W.Va. A woman is suing the federal government over the 2018 death of her father from a wrongful insulin injection at the West Virginia veterans hospital. Melanie Proctor filed the lawsuit Monday, March 2, 2020 against Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie. It details a “widespread system of failures” at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg that led to the death of her father, former Army Sgt. Felix Kirk McDermott.(Eddie Trizzino/Times-West Virginian via AP, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WOWK) — The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) unanimously passed the VA Provider Accountability Act, which would enforce the licensure requirement for medical providers of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and John Boozman (R-AR) introduced this bill in response to address the 2019 GAO Report, which found the VA must take action to ensure its healthcare providers have the appropriate qualifications and clinical abilities to deliver safe, high-quality care to Veterans.

“West Virginia Veterans have experienced firsthand the negative impacts of the VA not properly vetting healthcare providers, which resulted in the death of seven Veterans at the Clarksburg VA Medical Center. It is our responsibility to ensure our brave Veterans who sacrificed for our nation receive the highest quality care when they return home. Our bipartisan bill will address these prevalent issues in the VA healthcare system by instituting requirements to keep the VA, and their healthcare providers accountable and our Veterans safe and cared for. I’m proud that the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee unanimously passed our bipartisan legislation and I look forward to the full Senate supporting this commonsense bill.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

Manchin introduced the bipartisan legislation in June.

According to the bill, the VA Provider Accountability Act would require the VA to:

  • Compile, verify and continuously monitor the professional licensures, certifications and registrations with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) and the applicable state licensing boards for certain VA healthcare professionals.
  • Require certain VA healthcare professionals hold an active DEA registration.
  • Conduct ongoing, retrospective, and comprehensive monitoring of the performance and quality of the healthcare delivered by each healthcare professional to include concerns of competency or quality of care delivered by a healthcare professional are reported, as appropriate, to the state licensing, registration, or certification body of the healthcare professional.
  • Provide biannual training on these licensure, employment and reporting requirements to employees performing these duties.
  • The bill would also prohibit the VA from entering into a settlement agreement regarding a claim by a VA employee under which it would be required to conceal a serious medical error or lapse in clinical practice that constitutes a substantial failure. 

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