Newhouse introduces bill to fix VA issues

In the wake of a series of scandals surrounding the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Fourth Congressional District Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, has introduced a bill proposing solutions.

Newhouse, along with Sixth Congressional District Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Tacoma, introduced the VA Management Alignment Act of 2016. The bill directs the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to report to Congress and detail what the VA is doing to reorganize and improve access to healthcare for veterans.

“Veterans deserve accountability and improved care after facing mismanagement at the VA,” said Newhouse. “I am glad to work with my colleague Rep. Kilmer on this legislation that will require the VA to respond with a framework to address problems on behalf of the men and women who served in uniform.”

The bill states the VA will deliver their report to the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and House within 180 days of the passage of the bill. The report would detail the job duties of senior level VA staff and how the department is actually organized. In addition, the bill stipulates the report would recommend any legislative changes that are needed in the VA.

“Our legislation will help us ensure we can take care of veterans who have sacrificed so much to protect us,” Kilmer said. “After stories and reports about manipulated wait times and mismanagement in our VA system, it became clear systemic reforms were needed. We are calling on the VA to give us a blueprint for how we can best empower the VA and its employees to address systemic management challenges and improve care at the VA to get veterans the services they need.”

By:  Richard Byrd
Source: Columbia Basin Herald