November 13, 2017


Manchin-Heller Bill Demands Transparency, Accountability from the VA

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced bipartisan legislation that stops the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from hiding medical mistakes made by providers in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The VA Provider Accountability Act arrives after a USA Today investigation recently revealed the VA has for years repeatedly buried and concealed poor care and mistakes made by its medical workers.

The Manchin-Heller bill would require the VA to report major adverse actions to the National Practitioner Data Bank and state licensing boards. It will also prohibit the VA from signing settlements with fired or dismissed VA employees that allow the VA to conceal serious medical errors or purge negative records from personnel files.

“The vast majority of VA healthcare providers are well-trained, caring, patriots who work hard to take care of our nation’s veterans. But, just like in any healthcare system, there are bad apples,” Senator Manchin said, a member of the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “This commonsense piece of legislation ensures that incidences of malpractice do not go unreported to state licensing boards and the National Practitioner Data Bank. It also stops those who commit malpractice from receiving a settlement so they will quietly resign and become a provider outside of the VA.  By imposing these oversight measures on the Department of Veterans Affairs, we are ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all Americans.”

“The investigation’s findings are downright shameful, and we need action immediately to ensure that the VA does not hide medical mistakes or inadequate care,” Senator Heller said. “That’s why Senator Manchin and I introduced legislation that demands transparency and accountability from the VA and puts a stop to concealing serious medical errors through settlements with fired or dismissed VA employees. It is our responsibility to stand up for those who put their lives on the line for this country and provide them with the world class medical care they expect and deserve. The VA lists integrity as its first core value, and VA employees make the promise to act with high moral principle and adhere to the highest professional standards. Our legislation will make sure of it by holding the VA’s feet to the fire so that the veterans the agency exists to serve have trust in their caretakers.”