Washington, D.C.—Today, Rep. Mike Bost’s VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act (H.R. 3956) passed in the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously. The bipartisan bill addresses the growing problem of VA medical centers (VAMC) operating without permanent directors, an instability that makes it more difficult to implement long-term reforms in patient care.
“Continual uncertainty at the top of any organization is destructive, and it certainly makes it tougher to fix problems at the VA,” said Rep. Bost. “I am proud that Republicans and Democrats came together to support my efforts to require a permanent director at all VA facilities. That’s the only way we’re going to successfully address the much-publicized and deep-rooted failures that have come to light in caring for our heroes.”
“Rep. Bost’s bill helps provide the stability necessary to ensure our veterans receive the best care possible. I applaud his leadership in addressing this problem that impacts dozens of VA hospitals across the country,” Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
H.R. 3956 would:
- Direct VA to develop a plan to hire a director for each VAMC without a permanent director;
- Require that each VA Director annually certify compliance with the scheduling directive (or any successor directive that replaces it) or submit a report to the Secretary explaining why the facility is not in compliance;
- Require VA to report annually to the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees with a list of facilities that have and have not certified compliance with the scheduling directive (or any successor directive that replaces it) and to notify Congress whenever a facility is granted exemption from compliance.
Over the past three years, the St. Louis VA has been managed by more than seven different acting directors. The short-term uncertainty has impacted the ability of the system management to engage in long-term planning and other functions necessary to improve service delivery to Veterans.