Manchin questions VA secretary at hearing | News, Sports, Jobs

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WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), a member of the Senate Veterans Committee (SVAC), interviewed Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), during the SVAC committee hearing on the steps the VA is taking to regain the trust of veterans and restore accountability to the facilities.

For years, Manchin fought to hold the VA and the leadership accountable for their failure to protect West Virginia veterans receiving care at Clarksburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) and Beckley VAMC.

One of the recent leadership failures comes from the Joint Commission, a third-party accreditation service that evaluates VA facilities. The Joint Commission systematically assigned passing marks to the Clarksburg VAMC. However, in May, the VA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released damning reports detailing the failures that resulted in the deaths of veterans at the Clarksburg facility. Senator Manchin has worked to address these inconsistencies among VA oversight organizations to ensure transparency and accountability for VA facilities in West Virginia and across the country.

Manchin said in part: “Secretary, you know, I have talked a lot about the Clarksburg situation and its horror and I know the senator and the ranking member have heard me talk about it before, but you know, the glaring thing that happened in our VA was that they were getting passing marks. The Joint Commission, which accredits VA facilities, said that everything is fine, everything is fine, and then we found out that the OIG report was completely different. Give me a little update on what you were able to do to change this from the Joint Commission versus the OIG to see if they are in sync?

In August, Manchin secured language in the Senate Appropriation Committee’s Military Construction and Veterans Bill to order a review of third-party accreditation providers, like the Joint Commission, to address systemic reporting failures. patient safety in VAMCs, including Clarksburg.

Manchin also interviewed Secretary McDonough of the VA Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission, which is responsible for conducting a comprehensive review of VA facilities and identifying where investments need to be made as well as where facilities need to be consolidated. , realigned, exchanged, rented. , replaced, sold or disposed of. However, the last time there was an asset review, it made recommendations that would have had a disproportionate impact on rural hospitals in West Virginia and across the country.

In March 2019, Senator Manchin introduced the VA Assets and Infrastructure Review Board (AIR) Elimination Act of 2019, to ensure that access to life-saving health care for veterans in the rural areas is not eliminated. Senator Manchin is committed to ensuring the highest standards of health care for West Virginia veterans while continuing to ensure that our existing infrastructure needs are met in rural states like West Virginia.

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