Inhofe Praises Signing of the VA Accountability Act

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), praised President Trump’s signing of S. 1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law. Inhofe cosponsored this legislation. 

It is our responsibility to ensure that our veterans have access to the quality health care they deserve,” Inhofe said. “This legislation makes much needed reforms to ensure that bad actors are removed from the VA by allowing the Secretary of the VA to expedite the removal, demotion or suspension of VA employees based on misconduct or performance. Further, it increases protections for employees that are willing to speak up when they see something wrong. President Trump is committed to reforming and improving our Veterans’ Administration and enacting the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act does just that.” 

Background

  • On May 25, Inhofe and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced S. 1266 the Enhancing Veteran Care Act, which authorizes VISN directors to contract with an outside entity to conduct investigations of their VA medical facilities.
  • On Feb. 23, 2016, Inhofe announced on the Senate floor that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had committed in writing to conduct investigations of Oklahoma’s VA hospitals in coordination with an outside entity, a condition made by Inhofe prior to allowing confirmation of the VA Inspector General nominee.
  • On Feb. 12, 2016 Inhofe and Lankford introduced S. 2554, the Veterans Affairs Accountability Act, which included several portions of S. 1094, including the authority for the Secretary of the VA to remove or demote a VA employee based on performance or misconduct.
  • On Dec. 23, 2015, Inhofe contacted VISN 19 Network Director Ralph Gigliotti and requested his personal assistance in ensuring proper care is provided to the five veterans identified in the Dec. 23, 2015, USA Today article. Inhofe continues to work with the VA on care for these veterans to include addressing existing medical issues and any future medical issues.
  • On Nov. 30, 2015, VISN 19 sent two teams to investigate operations at the Muskogee VA center, one that looked at quality of care and the other that looked at management of the facility. Their visits resulted in the immediate shut down of intermediate surgeries at the Muskogee facility due to issues that were discovered. It also prompted the removal of the facility’s Chief of Staff on Feb. 9, who was temporarily reassigned until the completion of VA’s review of VISN 19’s report. It also resulted in new VA Directors in the Muskogee and Oklahoma City VA facilities.