Denham’s bipartisan bill to create VA cost savings, improve waste disposal moves to Senate

The U.S. House on July 24 approved a bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) to establish safer, cheaper removals of hazardous medical waste at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities that also could save the department big bucks.

“This commonsense, cost-saving measure will shake loose millions of dollars each year that the VA can repurpose to improve care for veterans across the country,” said Rep. Denham. “Those who have worn the cloth of our nation deserve the best possible care and attention, and I’m working to keep that promise.”

The VA COST SAVINGS Enhancements Act, H.R. 5974, which passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, would require the VA to implement new waste disposal systems and better prioritize resources to improve care for U.S. military veterans, according to a July 25 statement from the congressman’s office.

U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Mike Bost (R-IL), and Charlie Crist (D-FL) are cosponsors of H.R. 5974, which Rep. Denham introduced on May 25. The VA COST SAVINGS Enhancements Act, which stands for the VA Creation of On-Site Treatment Systems Affording Veterans Improvements and Numerous General Safety Enhancements Act, now has advanced to the U.S. Senate.

If enacted, H.R. 5974 would require the VA to install on-site medical waste treatment systems in all facilities for the disposal of hazardous bio-waste that could save the VA millions of dollars a year, according to Rep. Denham’s office.

The technology would improve crisis-readiness, increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness, be more environmentally friendly than traditional disposal methods, and would align the VA with Centers for Disease Control best practices for infection control, according to the congressman’s statement.

The House passed H.R. 5974 by voice vote and sent it to the Senate on July 25, where the measure has been referred to the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee for consideration.