Boozman Bill to Fund Military Construction & Veterans Programs Approved in Senate Appropriations Package
Includes Requirement for VA Plan for Clinical Disclosures in Response to Fayetteville Incident
Jun 25 2018
WASHINGTON- The Senate approved a trio of appropriations bills in a package that included legislation crafted by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that supports military construction and veterans’ benefit programs and requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement changes necessary to protect our veterans from clinical errors at VA facilities.
“I’m happy to see the Senate returning to regular order and passing appropriations bills. This package includes funding for critical investments in our nation’s priorities for infrastructure and facilities for U.S. military forces and their families and veterans’ health care and benefits. It’s especially timely that we make improvements to VA policies to ensure we have procedures in place to prevent tragedies that result because of physician misconduct, like that at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center, from happening in the future – both in Arkansas and around the country,” said Boozman, Chairman of the Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee and author of this portion of the funding package.
In response to the Fayetteville VA Medical Center issue, Boozman led the Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma delegations in introducing an amendment adopted by the Senate that requires the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit a departmental response plan to Congress that can be applied in Fayetteville and all future cases of clinical disclosures and provide recommendations about changes necessary to prevent such incidents.
The amendment requires that any plan must detail:
- Identification process for individuals impacted by disclosures
- Procedures for expediting follow-up care as required
- Detailed outline of proposed changes to clinical quality checks and oversight
- Communication plan for the entire Department
- Implementation timeline
- Identification of a senior executive responsible for ensuring compliance
- Identification of potential impacts of the plan on timely diagnoses
- Identification of the processes and procedures for employees to express concerns
Boozman also included a measure to move forward with improvements at the Little Rock Air Force Base runway.
The bill also includes a Boozman-supported provision that provides additional resources for the Veterans History Project, an initiative that builds an archive at the Library of Congress of oral histories and personal documents of the men and women who served our country in uniform. Boozman and his staff have conducted nearly 50 interviews of Arkansas veterans for inclusion in the archive and have trained more than 400 people across the state to participate in the project.
Additionally, the legislation includes a record level of funding for the VA. These resources will provide the healthcare, benefits and memorial services earned by U.S. service members and veterans. The bill also provides funding for 169 military construction projects within the United States and around the globe.