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Toomey: Vets Should Be Able To Hold VA Employees Accountable

Tuesday, May 27

WILLOW GROVE, Pa. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey wants to protect America's veterans from dishonesty and malfeasance in the delivery of medical services and hold the Veterans Administration (VA) employees accountable to those they serve.

Today, at the Willow Grove VFW, Senator Toomey announced that he plans to introduce a bill to allow veterans and other patients at VA hospitals to sue VA employees who falsified and destroyed health records. The bill would ensure individuals who have been injured due to secret wait lists can be compensated for their damages; would reveal, through the court's discovery process, the true extent of VA secret waitlists; and it would allow the VA Secretary to fire and revoke pensions of any employee found to have violated the Act.

"The men and women who served in uniform should be first in line for the best quality medical care in the world," said Senator Toomey. "That's why I will introduce legislation to allow veterans to hold VA employees accountable if they falsify or destroy information relating to a veteran's health care. My legislation would also authorize the firing of VA employees who engage in such activity."

Senator Toomey's bill would protect veterans as follows:

• THE TRUE EXTENT OF SECRET VA WAITLISTS COULD BE MADE PUBLIC.

A veteran suing in court should be entitled to receive copies of all emails, memos, voicemails, or other materials that shed light on
- how VA employees endangered veterans' health through secret wait lists,
- how employees hid their wrongdoing by falsifying and destroying documents, and
- which VA officials knew of these actions.

• VETERANS WOULD BE COMPENSATED. A veteran-or a veteran's next of kin-could collect damages to compensate him or her for any harm caused by delayed treatment.

• NO BURDEN ON TAXPAYER. The federal employee pays any damages out of his or her own pocket.

• MUCH NEEDED ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE VA. If a court finds that a VA employee falsified or destroyed VA health records, the VA Secretary may immediately fire that employee without the months of appeals and hearings that are mandated by civil service laws and union contracts.

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