Tags: House | GOP | VA

Rep. Bilirakis: House Legislation Will Hold VA Accountable

(AP)

By    |   Saturday, 21 May 2016 11:51 AM

Legislation passed in the House this week to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs will also serve to improve the VA and hold it accountable, Rep. Gus Bilirakis said on Saturday's GOP weekly address.

"In it, we have used our constitutional authority to hold the VA accountable," the Florida Republican said.  "That means making the VA meet requirements for improving electronic health records. It means adding hundreds of new employees to tackle claims appeals. And it means prohibiting all VA Senior Executive Service Managers from receiving bonuses."

Bilirakis, who serves as vice-chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee noted that it has been nearly two years since then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned because of numerous scandals, including news that wait times for veterans to receive medical care had been manipulated.

"At the time, the president said — and I quote — 'the number one priority is making sure that problems get fixed,' said Bilirakis. "But problems have not been fixed, and it's not clear whether it's a priority for this administration."

The VA is still taking too long to process claims, even though it has been receiving more funding, and "wait times are actually worse."

Also, the VA has held "almost no one" accountable for manipulating wait times, and some of those responsible "received bonuses as if nothing happened. That's unacceptable as far as I'm concerned."

The House and Senate have been working on a series of reforms to boost accountability and improve care, including passing bipartisan legislation in the House last week to address the drug addiction problem prevalent among veterans.

This week's funding bill allowed the House to use its constitutional authority to hold the VA accountable, and includes making the VA meet requirements for improving electronic health records, adding hundreds of new employees to tackle claims appeals, and keeping all VA senior executive service managers from receiving bonuses, said the Florida lawmaker.

"We can't throw money at the problem all the time, ok? It won't go away just doing that. We need real and meaningful reforms at the VA," said Bilirakis. "And we need President [Barack] Obama to keep his word to you, and make it his top priority to fix the problems at the VA."

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Legislation passed in the House this week to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs will also serve to improve the VA and hold it accountable, Rep. Gus Bilirakis said on Saturday's GOP weekly address.
House, GOP, VA
367
2016-51-21
Saturday, 21 May 2016 11:51 AM
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