West Virginia’s two U.S. Senators have introduced a bill Tuesday calling for more transparency in regard to patient safety and quality of care for veterans. The proposal comes as federal officials investigate suspicious deaths at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Clarksburg.
Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Shelley Moore Capito announced they have introduced The Improving Safety and Security for Veterans Act of 2019.
In a news release, Manchin and Capito say the measure seeks to ensure that Congress, veterans and their families are fully informed about the policies and procedures in place nationally across the VA.
The bill also would require the VA to submit a detailed report and timeline of events surrounding reported suspicious deaths at the Louis A. Johnson Medical Center in Clarksburg.
Federal officials are investigating at least 11 suspicious deaths at the facility. Autopsies show that some of those deaths were a result of a hypoglycemic event from unneeded insulin injections
“Victims’ families have waited long enough and deserve answers. I can’t imagine having a loved one murdered at a VA Medical Center and after a year and a half, still not knowing how it happened. I want to make sure this never happens to another Veteran at any VA facility ever again,” said Manchin. “Due to the lack of information being made available to the public, Veterans across our state are having a crisis of confidence in the safety, security, and quality of their VA healthcare.”
Read the full timeline of my work on the Clarksburg VA Medical Center investigation, which continues today and will continue until each and every family impacted receives the answers they deserve. pic.twitter.com/DSWbT0NQVF
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) December 10, 2019
Capito echoed Manchin’s sentiments on the matter and said she too has been engaged in trying to find answers for the victims’ families.
“Our veterans should always feel safe and cared for at our VA hospitals. No questions asked,” Senator Capito said. “It’s for this reason that I’ve stayed on top of this issue since day one when the news first broke. Since that day, I have remained in close contact with those involved in this investigation, such as VA Secretary Wilkie, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell, Clarksburg VA Director Glenn Snider, and VA Inspector General Michael Missal, as well as checking in with staff on the progress of the investigation. It’s important that we get more information for the families, the veterans, and the community.”
We need answers as to what happened at the Clarksburg VA. We need to restore confidence in our VA medical centers. Learn more about why I introduced The Improving Safety and Security for Veterans Act of 2019 ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/q0aL5tV8hz
— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) December 10, 2019
Officials say they are focused on an unnamed person of interest, but prosecutors have not yet brought charges in the matter.