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Report of VA burying medical errors spurs Heller, Manchin bill

Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced a bipartisan bill on Thursday aimed at cleaning up serious concerns with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical malpractice reporting protocols.

The bill comes in response to a USA Today investigation published last month that revealed that the VA has for years concealed poor care and mistakes made by its medical workers.

The bill from Heller, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Manchin would require the VA to report such mistakes to the National Practitioner Data Bank as well as state licensing boards, and prevent the VA from settling with fired employees as a way to conceal the mistakes.

“The investigation’s findings are downright shameful, and we need action immediately to ensure that the VA does not hide medical mistakes or inadequate care,” Heller said in a statement. “Our legislation will make sure of it by holding the VA’s feet to the fire so that the veterans the agency exists to serve have trust in their caretakers.”

“By imposing these oversight measures on the Department of Veterans Affairs, we are ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all Americans,” he said.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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