President Joe Biden on Nov. 23 signed into law a bipartisan, bicameral bill co-authored by U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to improve transparency at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers.
“With the president signing this legislation into law, we are taking an important step in the right direction,” said Sen. Capito last week. “However, at the same time, we must continue to remain vigilant against evil attacks on our veterans and push for the utmost level of transparency.”
The new law requires the VA to report on its policies and procedures related to the usage and maintenance of video cameras for patient safety and law enforcement at VA medical facilities, according to the congressional record bill summary.
The report shall include a comprehensive review of VA policies and procedures regarding the use and maintenance of cameras with respect to patient safety, including an analysis of how cameras are used to monitor staff and patients; how the use of cameras is prioritized to protect patient safety; and the extent to which cameras monitor locations where drugs are stored to ensure that drugs are accounted for, and an assessment of whether this is a widely used practice, according to the text of the law.
Additionally, the report will review how law enforcement of VA medical facilities use exterior cameras and interior cameras and will analyze the locations in which camera use is prioritized, among other provisions, according to the law.
“Our veterans have made unimaginable sacrifices on behalf of our freedom, and they deserve access to safe, reliable and trustworthy care at our VA medical centers,” Sen. Capito said. “This is an incredibly urgent matter, and I’m thankful that my colleagues have recognized the need for additional, comprehensive oversight from the [VA].”
Sen. Capito on March 2 sponsored S. 539 with lead original cosponsor U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), while U.S. Reps. David McKinley (R-WV) and David Trone (D-MD) on the same day introduced the companion bill, H.R. 1510, in their chamber. The U.S. House of Representatives on May 18 approved H.R. 1510, which the U.S. Senate passed on Nov. 2. The measure was sent to the president on Nov. 16 and then signed into law last week.