On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby introduced a bill that would force the federal Veterans’ Administration to do something she has asked them to do for a long time: intervene when regional medical centers show they are unable to adequately care for American military veterans.
Roby’s new proposal — H.R. 3234, dubbed the “Failing VA Medical Center Recovery Act” — calls for a “rapid response team of managers and medical professionals” to deploy to failing centers directly.
“I believe the problem is we have been depending on a broken bureaucracy to fix itself,” said Roby in a prepared statement Monday. “I believe it’s time to change that by breaking through the bureaucracy to get results on behalf of our veterans.”
“This is the ‘anti-bureaucracy.’ This is the team no complacent VA employee wants to see coming because they know that the status quo is about to get shaken up.”
Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, where the state’s VA medical centers in Montgomery and Tuskegee have been identified as the nation’s worst and second worst, respectively. The third-term Republican said she will not allow inefficiencies in the “sprawling VA bureaucracy” that provides poor service to veterans stand any longer.
“The determination of a failing medical center will be based on data, not the Secretary’s whim or what media attention it is garnering,” Roby said Monday. “My bill sets up an automatic trigger that compels the VA to act under the law.
“I’m glad the [Veterans’ Affairs] Secretary [Robert McDonald] used his authority to take control of the situation in Phoenix. But, why not Montgomery? Why not Tuskegee? Why not come and take control of the worst and second worst situation in the country, especially after we have repeatedly asked and pleaded him to do so?
“I’m tired of asking, and that’s why my bill requires the VA to step in and take charge.”
See Roby’s House floor speech where she formally introduced the bill below.