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Government

New Law Aims To Improve Security In VA Hospitals

VA Deaths West Virginia
Gene J. Puskar/AP
/
AP
FILE - In this July 14, 2020 file photo, people walk outside the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, W.Va.

President Joe Biden has just signed a new law aimed at improving transparency and safety at VA medical centers across the country.

The legislation was authored by U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin. It will require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit to Congress a report on the use of security cameras in VA medical facilities.

“Our veterans have made unimaginable sacrifices on behalf of our freedom, and they deserve access to safe, reliable, and trustworthy care at our VA medical centers,” Capito said. “What happened at the Clarksburg VAMC in 2017 and 2018 was an unacceptable lapse in leadership and accountability. This is an incredibly urgent matter, and I’m thankful that my colleagues have recognized the need for additional, comprehensive oversight from the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Reta Mays of Harrison County pleaded guilty in July 2020 to seven counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of veterans receiving care at the medical center. She received seven consecutive life sentences and an additional 20 years for an eighth victim.

“Over the past several years, West Virginia Veterans have lost faith in the VA system due to the murders of at least seven Veterans at the Clarksburg VAMC and the negligence that allowed this heartbreaking tragedy to occur,” said Manchin, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that when our veterans return home, they receive the quality care they deserve from our VA facilities. This is a good first step in restoring our veterans’ confidence in the VA medical centers, but we have a long way to go and I am committed to ensuring every veteran has access to the safe, quality healthcare they deserve.”

Additionally, the legislation was sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives David McKinley (W.Va.-01), Alex Mooney (W.Va.-02), and Carol Miler (W.Va.-03).

The full text of the Senate version of the bill can be viewed here.


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