A policy supported by West Virginia’s congressional delegation after the murders at the veterans hospital in Clarksburg has been signed into law.
The law requires the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit a report to Congress on the use of security cameras at VA medical facilities. Senators Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican, and Joe Manchin, a Democrat, authored the bill that was signed by President Joe Biden.
“With the president signing this legislation into law today, we are taking an important step in the right direction, 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,” 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 Department of Veterans Affairs.”
Each of West Virginia’s House members — David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller — signed on as sponsors.
Former nursing assistant Reta Mays was sentenced last May to consecutive life terms for the deaths of multiple veterans at Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg.
Mays admitted causing their deaths by administering unnecessary and lethal doses of insulin while she worked the overnight shift. She had obtained the insulin from supplies at the hospital, although she was not supposed to possess it or administer it.
“Over the past several years, West Virginia Veterans have lost faith in the VA system due to the murders of at least seven veterans at the Clarksburg VAMC and the negligence that allowed this heartbreaking tragedy to occur. It’s our responsibility to ensure that when our Veterans return home, they receive the quality care they deserve from our VA facilities,” Manchin stated.
Increased use of cameras in veterans healthcare facilities was a key recommendation of a 100-page probe of the deaths. The inspector general for Veterans Affairs concluded installation of cameras in sensitive areas of hospitals could suppress criminal behavior, one of several recommendations made through the investigation.
The bill would require the VA to report to Congress on the use and maintenance of all cameras used for patient safety and law enforcement purposes in Veterans Affairs medical facilities. The report would include VA recommendations for improving and monitoring camera use throughout its healthcare system.
“This is a good first step in restoring our Veterans’ confidence in the VA medical centers, but we have a long way to go and I am committed to ensuring every Veteran has access to the safe, quality healthcare they deserve,” Manchin said.