Legislation to Improve Michigan Veterans’ Healthcare Heads to President’s Desk
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Dave Trott (MI-11) issued the following statement after supporting the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act (S. 1094), legislation that authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to dismiss and hold underperforming Veterans Affairs(VA) employees accountable and strengthen whistleblower protections:
“As highlighted by the VA scandal in Phoenix, Arizona, for far too long, the VA has failed to provide timely and effective service for our veterans. Upon returning home, our veterans deserve nothing less than the highest quality care, and it is our responsibility to ensure they receive the healthcare and benefits they have earned.
“Today, after years of working alongside my colleagues, I supported the largest VA reform legislation in years, legislation that holds bad actors accountable and protects the whistleblowers that expose them. Having put their lives on the line to protect our nation, we need to keep our promise to our veterans and ensure these heroes receive the care they need.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act (S. 1094):
- Creates a new streamlined and efficient process to remove, demote, or suspend (for longer than 14 days) any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct with a concrete shortened timeline, while still protecting employees’ due process rights, and would provide them with the right to appeal the action.
- Provides expanded protections for whistleblowers and would specifically bar the VA from using this removal authority if the employee has an open whistleblower complaint/case with the Office of Special Counsel.
- Provides the Secretary with the authority to reduce an employee’s federal pension if they are convicted of a felony that influenced their job at VA; recoup a bonus provided to an employee who engaged in misconduct or poor performance prior to receiving the bonus; and allow the Secretary to recoup any relocation expenses that were authorized for a VA employee only through the employee’s ill-gotten means, such as fraud waste or malfeasance.
- Authorizes the Secretary to directly appoint individuals to the positions of Medical Center Director and Director of Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) if they have a demonstrated ability in the medical profession, health care administration, or health care fiscal management.