Sens. Kelly and Blackburn, Representatives Gallego and Joyce Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Transparency at VA

Yesterday, Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the VA Quality Health Care Accountability and Transparency Act to improve the way the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) shares its performance metrics with veterans, their caregivers, and the public.

The bill was first introduced in the 116th Congress in response to a 2017 Government Accountability Office report which found that the VA was failing to disclose wait time, patient safety, and quality of care information in an accessible and easy-to-use manner.

“Access to reliable, usable data that can better inform health care decisions should not be out of reach for our veterans and the veterans service organizations that support them. This bipartisan bill will help veterans in Arizona get the quality care they have earned as well as the transparency from the VA they deserve. These reforms are critical to delivering quality care for veterans and improving accountability so that the failures of the past won’t be repeated,” said Sen. Kelly.

“Every veteran, family member, and American should be able to easily access information on how well the VA is performing,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Marine combat veteran and member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. “I am proud to lead this bipartisan group in introducing legislation that will hold the VA accountable for the care it provides, increase transparency, and ensure that veterans have the information they need to make informed health care decisions.”

“Taking care of the brave men and women who have defended our nation and our freedoms is the ultimate bipartisan cause,” said Rep. Joyce. “As the son of a World War II veteran, I’m proud to join Rep. Gallego and our colleagues in the Senate in introducing this bill to improve transparency at the VA. We owe a great debt to our veterans. It’s our responsibility to ensure they are able to easily access and understand the information necessary to make informed decisions about their health.”

“Tennessee is home to a thriving veteran community who have made tremendous sacrifices for our nation,” said Sen. Blackburn. “This key piece of legislation will improve transparency and empower veterans to make the best health care decisions for themselves and their families.”

The bill would require VA to work with veteran service organizations (VSOs) to consolidate and display staffing and vacancy information, patient wait times, and patient safety and quality of care measures and outcomes in a way that is accessible and easy to use for veterans. It would also require the VA to annually audit the data that it releases to the public to ensure that it is accurate and complete.