Veterans Affairs

Committee on Veterans Affairs

Phil Roe

“Healthy Hiring: Enabling VA to Recruit and Retain Quality Providers”

2017/03/22

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HVAC/SVAC Hearing to receive the Legislative Presentations from Multiple Veterans Service Organizations (JWV, FRA, AFSA, MOPH, American Ex-POW, BVA, TREA, IAVA, MOAA)

2017/03/22

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Wenstrup Introduces Legislation to Make VA 100% Smoke-Free

2017/03/22

Subcommittee on Health Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) introduced legislation to prohibit smoking in any Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facility. Under this legislation, smoking would be banned inside VHA facilities immediately and outside VHA facilities within five years. “Exposure to secondhand smoke puts veteran patients at unnecessary risk. This common sense reform mitigates that risk by requiring VHA facilities to become 100% smoke-free within five years,” said Wenstrup, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health. “As a doctor and veteran myself, ensuring that those who I have served alongside receive the best possible care is personal to me. But I believe it should be personal to every American. The least we can do for those who fought for us is ensure they receive the same considerations and treatments at the VA, as they would in the private-sector.” “The health and well-being of our nation’s heroes should always come first,” said Roe, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “This commonsense legislation would bring VA’s smoking policies into the 21st Century, ensuring veteran patients receive the same considerations as patients in the private-sector.” Background: According to VA, only 20 percent of veterans enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration are smokers. Many non-smoking veteran patients are at an increased risk for cardiovascular events associated with exposure to secondhand smoke. The VHA currently provides 971 outdoor designated smoking areas and 15 indoor designated smoking areas, as required by the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992. In contrast, smoking is prohibited in non-VA federal facilities, indoor military facilities and in most private-sector national healthcare systems.  Read More

"Legislative hearing on H.R. 1461, the Veterans, Employees, and Taxpayers Protection Act of 2017.”

2017/03/21

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Chairman Roe Statement on Report of Veterans Crisis Line Continued Failures

2017/03/20

Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) released the following statement in response to the newly released Office of Inspector General (OIG) report revealing continued failures of the Veterans Crisis Line: "It's unacceptable that the issues with the Veterans Crisis Line have still not been addressed, and I hope Secretary Shulkin will take immediate steps to correct these serious shortcomings. The Veterans Crisis Line is intended to be the first line of defense against veteran suicide, and we must ensure calls are being answered by a trained professional in a timely manner. I am extremely frustrated by the OIG's findings and will continue to conduct oversight so the men and women who answered the call to serve have their calls answered when they need help the most." Read More

House Passes Bill Improving VA’s Ability to Hire, Retain High-Quality Providers

2017/03/17

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1367, legislation to improve VA’s ability to recruit and retain high-quality health care providers and other professionals: “Providing the top-notch health care and benefits our nation’s veterans deserve is impossible without a strong workforce. H.R. 1367 would improve VA’s ability to recruit and retain the very best providers to treat our nation’s heroes, and I thank Rep. Wenstrup for his leadership on this important legislation.” H.R. 1367, introduced by Rep. Brad Wenstrup, contains a number of provisions that would strengthen VA’s ability to identify staffing shortages, recruit employees to fill vacant positions, quickly on-board new hires, and retain high-performing workers across the country. It also contains provisions that would improve leadership and accountability throughout VA and increase the number of veterans in the federal workforce. Read More

HVAC to Examine VHA’s Ability to Recruit, Retain High-Quality Employees

2017/03/17

On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. the Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing entitled, “Healthy Hiring: Enabling VA to Recruit and Retain Quality Providers.” This hearing will examine the ability of the Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to recruit and retain high quality clinical and administrative employees. The following event is open to the press: WHO: Subcommittee on Health WHAT: “Healthy Hiring: Enabling VA to Recruit and Retain Quality Providers” WHEN: 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 22, 2017 WHERE: 334 Cannon House Office Building Background: In 2016, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report which found that, “[VHA’s] limited human resources capacity combined with weak internal control practices has undermined VHA’s [Human Resources] operations and its ability to improve the delivery of health care services to veterans.” During this hearing, the subcommittee will discuss actions needed to address deficiencies within VHA’s overly bureaucratic and lengthy hiring processes that hinder VA’s ability to recruit and retain high-quality employees, as well as evaluate how staffing needs at the local level are identified and communicated, how recruitment and retention in high-need areas are prioritized and addressed, and whether significant increases in the total number of VHA employees over the last decade have improved the delivery of services to veteran patients. The subcommittee will also examine the impact of the recent federal hiring freeze on VHA’s workforce, as well as recent media reports alleging that the $2.5 billion dollars that Congress provided to increase hiring of clinical personnel across the VA healthcare system did not result in increased hiring. Read More

HVAC Schedule March 20 – 24

2017/03/17

Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) today released the hearing schedule for March 20 – 24. The following events are open to the press:   WHO: Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity WHAT: Legislative Hearing WHEN: 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 21, 2017 WHERE: 334 Cannon House Office Building and streaming at veterans.house.gov Legislation: H.R. 1461: Veterans, Employees, and Taxpayers Protection Act of 2017    WHO: House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees WHAT: “Joint Hearing of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees to receive the Legislative Presentations from JWV, FRA, AFSA, MOPH, American Ex-POW, BVA, TREA, IAVA, MOAA” WHEN: 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 22, 2017 WHERE: Senate Dirksen Ground Floor Room 50 and streaming at veterans.senate.gov   WHO: Subcommittee on Health WHAT: “Healthy Hiring: Enabling VA to Recruit and Retain Quality Providers” WHEN: 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 22, 2017 WHERE: 334 Cannon House Office Building and streaming at veterans.house.gov Read More

The VA must be held accountable. Here’s what Congress needs to do

2017/03/16

The VA must be held accountable. Here’s what Congress needs to do By Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. FoxNews.com A recent study completed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that, on average, it takes six months to a year to remove a permanent civil servant in the federal government. Oftentimes, it takes even longer. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is not exempt from the red-tape that prevents agency leadership from firing or disciplining employees within their agency. President Obama’s former VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson testified at a House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing on the Choice Program that it was too difficult to fire a substandard VA employee. In fact, President Obama himself said, “if you engage in an unethical practice, if you cover up a serious problem, you should be fired. Period. It shouldn’t be that difficult.” I’ve said time and time again that the vast majority of the employees at the VA are hard-working and have the best interests of our veterans at heart, but there are still too many bad apples within the department. Our veterans deserve better, and the VA employees who work tirelessly to fulfill their duties deserve better. In the past several years, VA’s civil service rules have hampered the department’s ability to dismiss an employee who engaged in an armed robbery; to recoup $400,000 in relocation benefits from two senior employees who abused their authority; and hold employees accountable for their failures to manage major construction projects, including the new hospital in Aurora, Colorado, that is now several years and nearly a billion dollars over-budget. Even worse, the VA said it would have taken up to a year to fire a nurse who assisted in a veteran’s emergency surgery while under the influence of alcohol. The lack of accountability at the VA isn’t just a failure to our heroes; it’s dangerous. This kind of behavior would never be tolerated in the private-sector, and is even more unacceptable coming from the men and women who are paid by taxpayers to serve our nation’s veterans. It is past time Congress act in a bipartisan way to make the VA the best agency it can be. That’s why I’ve introduced the VA Accountability First Act, legislation to bring much-needed accountability to the VA. This important bill, which is being considered by the House this week, would provide Secretary Shulkin the tools he needs to swiftly and effectively discipline employees who fail in their sacred mission to provide world-class healthcare and benefits to the men and women who served. The VA Accountability First Act, which has strong support from many Veterans Service organizations, would level the playing field at VA and allow for a fair and timely appeal process for all VA employees. This bill would establish a singular expedited procedure for VA employees to respond and appeal to proposed removals, demotions, and suspensions for misconduct. The VA Accountability First Act and would bring certainty to the department and VA employees alike by entitling employees to an expedited appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) that would be decided within 45 days. Currently, it can take up to 264 days for an appeal to move through the process, leaving employees in limbo while their appeals are considered.  I’m proud this bill would also expand and preserve protections for whistleblowers. Whistleblowers are critical to the process of uncovering and addressing issues within the department, and I will always fight to ensure they are protected under the law. Additionally, this legislation will provide the Secretary with the direct hiring authority he has requested to hire medical center directors in a more expedient manner. Currently, it takes upwards of six months to fill a position, and this important provision will help fill the leadership vacancies across VA. Finally, this legislation raises the standards expected of VA employees by providing the Secretary with the authority to recoup a bonus provided to an employee who engaged in misconduct or poor performance prior to receiving the bonus if that bonus would not have been paid if their poor performance or misconduct was known. It would also allow the Secretary to recoup any relocation expenses if that employee commits an act of fraud, waste or malfeasance. Every VA employee I speak with tells me good employees want to work in an environment where they know everyone can be held accountable for their actions. The VA Accountability First Act doesn’t just build back the trust of America’s veterans; it gives VA employees the trust to know that bad actors within the department will no longer have the power to taint their good name. Read More

Chairman Roe Statement on House Passage of Legislation Protecting Veterans’ Second Amendment Rights

2017/03/16

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act: “I strongly believe we must do everything in our power to protect the rights guaranteed to all Americans, especially the men and women who have served, by the Constitution. The Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act does just that. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in passing this important legislation that ensures no veteran who utilizes a fiduciary will lose their second amendment rights without due process.” The Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act, introduced by Chairman Phil Roe, M.D., would prohibit VA from considering any beneficiary who is assisted by a fiduciary as “mentally defective” without a magistrate or judicial authority ruling that the beneficiary is a danger to themselves or others. Click here for more information. Read the bill here.  Read More

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Contact Information

335 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3527
Fax 202-225-5486
veterans.house.gov


Membership

Phil Roe

TENNESSEE's 1st DISTRICT