House Passes Seven Bills to Improve Standards at the VA

May 26, 2017
Press Release
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after the House passed seven pieces of legislation this week to improve service standards and oversight at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
LaMalfa said: “This week, the House passed a number of bills that will all help to improve standards at the VA. Among the legislation are bills to provide veterans with a cost of living adjustment for disability compensation, create a pilot program to explore magnetic resonant therapy as treatment for vets with mental health conditions, and streamline the disability claim appeals process at the VA – among others.
“A 2014 investigation found that no less than 40 veterans died while on unauthorized waiting lists – waiting to receive care that they never got. That is why we passed the VA Scheduling Accountability Act, which puts into place measures to ensure every facility is in compliance with VA scheduling policies – such as withholding any awards or bonuses from any centers who fail to meet timeliness requirements. With these bills paired with a new VA Secretary, David Shulkin, I am optimistic that we will see meaningful reforms for the VA.”
Rep. LaMalfa speaks on the House floor in support of the VA Scheduling Accountability Act. [YouTube]
H.R. 467, The VA Scheduling Accountability Act, would require VA medical center directors to certify annually that their facility is in compliance with the scheduling directive, prohibit the VA from waiving certification, and require VA to report to Congress on individual medical facilities’ compliance. Any center that fails to certify compliance will not be eligible for any awards or bonuses. 
H.R. 1005, would direct VA to enter into an agreement or a contract with state veterans’ homes to pay for adult day health care for a veteran eligible for, but not receiving, nursing home care.
H.R. 1162, The No Hero Left Untreated Act, would require the VA to carry out a one-year pilot program at up to two VA medical facilities to provide access to magnetic resonance therapy to veterans with suffering from mental health conditions.
H.R. 1329, The Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2017, would increase the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities.
H.R. 1545, The VA Prescription Data Accountability Act, would clarify current law to stipulate that the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is required to disclose information to state-controlled substance monitoring programs for anyone who is prescribed these medications through the VA.
H.R. 1725, The Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2017, seeks to reduce the number of unnecessary disability examinations by requiring additional information be provided to Congress regarding the VA’s use of private medical evidence in support of claims for disability compensation.
H.R. 2288, The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 would streamline the disability claim appeals process at the VA by creating three “lanes” for veterans’ appeals. It would also require the VA to provide a comprehensive plan for how the new system will be implemented and require the Secretary to submit periodic reports to Congress.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.