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Mann and Pappas Introduce Legislation to Enhance VA Oversight of Community Care Program

Legislation acts on GAO report showing approximately 1,600 ineligible providers were still listed in the VA Community Care Network

[Washington, DC]

Today, Congressman Tracey Mann (KS-01), Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, and Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01), Chairman of the Subcommittee, introduced bipartisan legislation to require the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to deactivate ineligible providers from its Community Care Network and mitigate both the risk of veterans receiving care from unqualified health care providers and of VHA making payments to fraudulent providers. This legislation would require action following the release of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that identified approximately 1,600 providers in VHA’s Community Care Network provider directory who were deceased, ineligible to work with the federal government, or had revoked or suspended medical licenses. GAO made a series of ten recommendations, and the legislation would help ensure their implementation. The legislation will be considered during the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Legislative Hearing on Wednesday, March 30 at 2:00pm. “Veterans who have fought for this country should not have to face yet another battle to get the care they have earned when their service ends,” said Congressman Pappas. “Community care helps increase access for critical services for our veterans, but only if VA can ensure safe, quality care. This bipartisan legislation would require stronger oversight of VA’s Community Care Network and ensure that veterans are not at risk of receiving care from unqualified providers, protecting their health and well-being.” “Our nation’s heroes deserve the highest quality of care when they return home,” said Congressman Mann. “When outdated health care information is left in the VA system, veterans are at risk of receiving unsafe health care services. As members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, it is our duty to ensure that veterans are in good hands. They fought for our safety. We should fight for theirs.” Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Require the VA to carry out a plan to improve its processes for identifying and removing ineligible healthcare providers from the Community Care Program, including:

  • Performing automated continuous checks of providers in its Community Care networks against multiple exclusionary data sources the federal government maintains

  • Conducting a fraud risk analysis and an examination of existing fraud controls within the Office of Community Care

  • Require VA to submit a report to Congress on its progress carrying out the plan and recommendations for future legislative action to further improve the methods by which VA identifies health care providers that are not eligible to participate in the Community Care Program

In January, Pappas and Mann were joined by Congresswoman Julia Brownley and Congressman Jack Bergman in a bipartisan letter calling for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to deactivate ineligible providers from its Community Care Network.

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