New bipartisan legislation is aimed at addressing transparency issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers (VAMC).

Introduced Oct. 1 by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., the bill would require the Secretary of the VA to submit a report to Congress on the use of security cameras at VAMC’s. This legislation follows in the wake of the deaths of veterans at the Clarksburg, VA Medical Center.

“In one of my conversations with VA Inspector General Michael Missal, he cited the lack of eye witnesses or security footage as a complicating factor in the Clarksburg investigation. Our legislation would change this and improve transparency,” Sen. Capito said in a statement. “Specifically, it would provide the Senate with insight on the utilization of security cameras at VA medical centers across the country so we can better-determine how to tackle this issue and ensure patient safety.”

According to the legislation, the report conducted by VA should include details of specific policies and procedures VA is utilizing regarding security cameras at VAMC’s. Additionally, the report must identify how security cameras are being used to protect patients; the extent to which security cameras are being used for overall security; and VA’s patient privacy policy with respect to the placement of security cameras.

“The heinous actions of the former Clarksburg VAMC employee and her recent guilty plea shone a light on oversight issues at the facility, which is why Senator Capito and I are introducing legislation that requires the VA to submit a report on the use of security cameras at VA facilities,” Sen. Manchin said. “Had there been security cameras in place at the facility, Veteran lives may have been saved and we must do everything possible to ensure no more Veterans are murdered at VAMC facilities.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.