Measure includes Boozman’s VACANT Act
Sep 13 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, continues to push for improvements to oversight and accountability practices at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers.
Boozman and Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) introduced the VA Peer Review Neutrality Act to ensure neutrality and accountability of the VA’s peer review process and guarantee medical centers have the senior leadership in place to provide oversight veterans deserve.
“Veterans have earned access to high quality health care. Our bipartisan bill is an important step to strengthening oversight at VA medical centers and ensuring the delivery of care meets the standards they deserve. I will continue advocating measures that guarantee leadership at these facilities is in place to sufficiently supervise and direct their work so we can assure veterans they will not be victims of negligence or malfeasance,” Boozman said.
“I was appalled to learn of the misconduct and blatant failure from leadership at the Detroit VA Medical Center. Our nation’s veterans deserve nothing but the best quality health care and support,” said Peters. “I’m leading this bipartisan bill to make sure something like this never, ever happens again by putting in place commonsense measures to ensure VA peer reviews are conducted impartially and by the book.”
This legislation would require peer reviewers to withdraw from the case where they have direct involvement or a conflict of interest and have a Peer Review Committee at another VA facility evaluate the findings.
The legislation also incorporates Boozman’s VACANT Act to prevent the prolonged absence of an active VA medical center director by requiring the VA Secretary to ensure a plan is in place to fill vacant positions within 180 days of a director’s detailing to a different position within the department.
The Fayetteville VA Medical Center had been without a permanent director for nearly two years until a new director was hired in January 2023.
The VA Peer Review Neutrality Act is supported by the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans.
“A strong, viable veterans’ health care system is part of keeping our promise to those who served,” said Disabled American Veterans National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “It is critical for the VA to eliminate conflicts of interest when conducting quality management and administrative investigations and limit the detail of directors at its medical centers. DAV thanks Sens. Gary Peters and John Boozman for introducing the Veterans Affairs Peer Review Neutrality Act of 2023 and supports this legislation, which ensures that systems are put in place to maintain timely, high-quality service delivery of veterans’ health care.”
The legislation is also cosponsored by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).