Bills introduced to protect veterans

Three bills were introduced this week by Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick to protect and improve resources for Native American veterans, and strengthen VA information security.

Kirkpatrick will testify today before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee in support of the legislation.

H.R. 1129 – Whistleblower and Patient Protection Act

The bill would move the responsibility of protecting whistleblowers to the Office of the VA Secretary, ensuring that reports and complaints are handled at the highest level rather than at local facilities.

This legislation would:

•   Create one national hotline for VA employees and patients to anonymously report whistleblower retaliation or patient safety and treatment complaints.

•   Create an office within the Office of the VA Secretary that is dedicated to investigating VA whistleblower retaliation complaints and patient complaints and making reports and recommendations directly to the VA Secretary.

•   Coordinate efforts between the VA Office of Inspector General and the Office of Special Counsel to ensure complaints are thoroughly investigated and to prevent duplicate investigations.

H.R. 1127 – to Provide Native American Veterans with Access to Nursing Care Homes

Arizona has more than 10,000 Native American veterans, yet not a single veteran nursing home is located on tribal land. Due to a legal oversight, veteran nursing care homes built on tribal land do not qualify for VA construction funds and per diem grants.

This oversight is to blame for a stalled effort in recent years to build a veteran nursing home on the Navajo Nation in Arizona’s Congressional District One. The facility’s location meant the project was ineligible for reimbursement of a percentage of construction or per diem costs.

This legislation would:

•   Allow VA grants for construction reimbursement and per diem payments for veteran nursing homes built on tribal lands.

•   Allow senior Native American veterans who need nursing care to remain near their families and cultural support network.

Arizona’s Congressional District One has 12 Native American tribes – about 23 percent of the district’s population.

H.R. 1128 – Cyber Security Protection Act

The bill aims to protect veterans’ personal information in the VA computer network without compromising the agency’s ability to provide healthcare, benefits and services to vets.

This legislation would:

•   Require the VA to develop an Information Security Strategic Plan that protects current veterans’ information and anticipates future cybersecurity threats.

•   Mandate a report on VA actions to hold employees accountable for data breaches, and propose a reorganization of the VA’s information security infrastructure to protect veterans and provide greater levels of accountability and responsibility.

•   Require the VA to report employee violations of its policy and report any incidents involving the compromise of veterans’ personal information either by the VA or from outside cyberattacks.

1 Comment

  1. How about you pukes at the VA stop denying disability compensation to veterans? First you use us as human test subjects then you hold us hostage to years of denials and repeated reopenings of claims. The US govt doesn’t give a damn about it’s veterans.

Comments are closed.