House Passes Bill to Improve Veteran Safety in VA Medical Centers

May 19, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House passed the Veterans’ Camera Reporting (VCR) Act (H.R. 1510), which will improve care at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care facilities by boosting use of video cameras for patient safety. Congressman Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) joined Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV), David Trone (D-MD), Mike Bost (R-IL), Carol Miller (R-WV), and Alex Mooney (R-WV) to introduce this legislation.

 

The passage of this bipartisan legislation comes one week after the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report faulting the Clarksburg VA facility for multiple failures that resulted in an employee murdering eight veterans. 

 

“After the tragic murders at the Clarksburg VA medical facility, including a victim from southwestern Pennsylvania, Retired Army Sergeant Felix McDermott, it was clear Congress needed to take action to protect our nation’s veterans,” said Congressman Reschenthaler. “As a Navy veteran, I am proud to join Rep. McKinley and our colleagues to advance this bipartisan bill today, which will increase transparency and oversight at VA health care facilities. I look forward to working with them to protect patients’ safety, get this bill across the finish line, and prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again.” 

 

“If we’ve learned anything from what happened at Clarksburg, it’s that we need more transparency and oversight in our VA system,” said Congressman McKinley. “Greater use of cameras is one step towards that. It will provide an additional safety measure for veterans, staff and visitors. We owe it to our veterans to restore their confidence in the VA and ensure they receive the quality care they deserve.” 

 

“Protecting those who have sacrificed so much to keep Americans safe is one of my highest priorities,” said Congressman Trone, Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Increasing cameras in our health care facilities will provide greater transparency and prevent future incidents of suspicious behavior. This is an essential first step in ensuring that our veterans receive the proper health care that they deserve.”

 

“Veterans and their families deserve to be safe at VA,” said Ranking Member Bost. “That’s why I was proud to join my friend, Rep. McKinley, in introducing the Veterans’ Camera Reporting Act and getting it passed by the House today. The senseless tragedy that took place at the Clarksburg VA Medical Center should have never happened. I join Rep. McKinley and the entire West Virginia community in mourning the loss of life that occurred there. This important bill will provide needed clarity regarding the use of cameras in VA facilities, which will improve patient safety and prevent future heartbreaking cases like this one. I hope to see it signed into law as soon as possible.” 

 

“I am proud to stand alongside my West Virginia colleagues as this crucial legislation passed the House of Representatives,” said Congresswoman Miller. “America’s veterans embody the best of this nation – A sense of service, unyielding patriotism, and devout determination to protect the freedoms we all enjoy every day. Veterans are heroes, and they deserve the best care possible. The passage of the Veterans’ Camera Reporting Act is a momentous step forward in our effort ensure they are safely taken care of, and that another tragedy like we saw in Clarksburg and Beckley never happens again.”

 

“Following the heinous murders at the Clarksburg VA Medical Center, I am proud to join Congressman McKinley and my West Virginia colleagues in cosponsoring H.R. 1510. Together we are ensuring that VA medical centers are upheld to the highest standards of patient safety, transparency and accountability for our nation’s heroes. Those who served our nation in the military deserve not only our utmost respect, but also continued care,” said Congressman Mooney.

 

To learn more about H.R. 1510, the VCR Act, click here.  

 

The Senate companion version to the VCR Act was introduced by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.). 

  

Background: 

 

This legislation was introduced following several suspicious deaths of veterans at the Clarksburg VA Medical Center.  

 

Last Congress, the Improving Safety and Security for Veterans Act was signed into law by President Trump. The bill requires the 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. To read the full text of the bill click here. 

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