VA hospital deaths prompt House bill mandating safety reports

After a string of suspicious deaths at a Veterans Affairs hospital, lawmakers have introduced a bill in the U.S. House requiring the VA to provide detailed reports on patient safety and care quality at its hospitals.

The Improving Safety and Security for Veterans Act of 2019 was introduced to ensure that federal lawmakers are kept up to date on the quality and patient safety policies and processes at VA hospitals across the country.

In addition, the bill requires the VA to send Congress a report on the investigation into the 11 suspicious deaths at Clarksburg, W.Va.-based Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center. The veterans in the hospital's medical-surgical unit were improperly injected with insulin from 2017-18. Three of the deaths were ruled homicides.

Reps. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), David McKinley P.E. (R-W.Va.), Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) introduced the legislation.

"We cannot begin to understand the grief and anger of the families whose loved ones died under suspicious circumstances at the Clarksburg VA," said Mr. McKinley. "The goal of this bill is to ensure transparency and accountability. It will also provide Congress with a better understanding of what happened in Clarksburg, and how to prevent it from ever happening again."

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