WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) legislation, The Improving Safety and Security for Veterans Act of 2019, passed the Senate right before Christmas. This bipartisan legislation would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to submit detailed reports on patient safety and quality of care at VA Medical Centers in light of the recent deaths of veterans at the Clarksburg VA Medical Center. 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 VA.
“Our veterans should always feel safe and cared for at our VA hospitals. No questions asked,” Senator Capito said. “It’s for this reason that I’ve stayed on top of this issue since day one when the news first broke. Since that day, I have remained in close contact with those involved in this investigation, such as VA Secretary Wilkie, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell, Clarksburg VA Director Glenn Snider, and VA Inspector General Michael Missal, as well as checking in with staff on the progress of the investigation. It’s important that we get more information for the families, the veterans, and the community. We need to discuss how these tragedies happened and how to prevent similar occurrences in West Virginia and VA hospitals nationwide. Passage of this legislation is welcome news, as it will help us find answers to these questions and help make sure that tragedies like this never happen again.”
“I’m proud that my Senate colleagues joined Senator Capito and I in voting to pass this important legislation. This bipartisan bill that will increase transparency at the VA and set the groundwork for greater accountability. Due to the lack of information being made available to the public, Veterans across our state are having a crisis of confidence in the safety, security, and quality of their VA healthcare. This legislation will help our Veterans and their families gain insight into the policies and procedures that could have led to these homicides. Ultimately our goal is to help restore public confidence in the VA across West Virginia and the nation. Victims’ families have waited long enough and deserve answers. I can’t imagine having a loved one murdered at a VA Medical Center and after a year and a half, still not knowing how it happened. I want to make sure this never happens to another Veteran at any VA facility ever again,” Senator Manchin said.
# # #