Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) introduced legislation last week to help improve care for veterans. The VA IT Restructuring Act (H.R. 3640) seeks to deliver better health care services for veterans receiving treatment at the VA through the appointment of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) responsible for the procurement, acquisition, and management of IT systems and services at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).
H.R. 3640 follows through on recommendations made by the Commission on Care, which was tasked with examining ways to improve the VHA’s health services by the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014. Specifically, it answers the Commission’s call to appoint a CIO at the VHA to avoid previous IT implementation failures that may have inhibited veterans’ access to care.
“As the one voice in Congress for the 63,000 veterans in Texas’ 4th District, it’s my job to ensure their health care needs are properly met. This is precisely why the Commission on Care was established back in 2014 – and now it’s time to follow through with commonsense solutions that will effectively leverage technology to improve the services they receive,” Ratcliffe said.
“After everything our nation’s veterans have sacrificed on behalf of our freedom, we owe it to them to work as hard as we can to ensure they receive the quality and timely care they most certainly have earned. Proper oversight of the IT systems being used at the VHA will be key to making sure we fulfill this important responsibility.”
Ratcliffe’s bill is identical to the Senate version (S. 1452), which was introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) with Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) as original cosponsors in June.