GAO Study Documents VA 'Noncompliance'

From: "Bruce K. Melson" <>
> CONTACT: Dan Amon
> September 27, 2000
> GAO Study Documents VA 'Noncompliance'With Protections for Veterans in
> Medical Experiments
> WASHINGTON, D.C. - A General Accounting Office (GAO) study indicates
> has been done to protect veterans from abuses in medical research and that
> the pattern is not confined to the West Los Angeles VA facility where
> concerns originated, according to Rep. Terry Everett (R-AL).
> Rep. Everett, Chairman of the House VA Subcommittee on Oversight and
> Investigations, has scheduled a hearing to review that GAO study at 10
> Thursday in the 334 Cannon hearing room. He ordered the GAO study after
> April, 1999 hearing on suspension of all medical research at the West Los
> Angeles VA medical facility. The U.S Department of Health and Human
> (HHS) and the VA suspended research programs at the two facilities even
> before reports of veterans being subjected to medical procedures without
> their consent. The GAO now is expected to document a similar lack of
> safeguards at eight other VA medical centers.
> After the 1999 hearing Everett and other lawmakers sent a strongly-worded
> letter to the VA demanding to know why specific allegations of abuse were
> not reported to the proper authorities within the VA and HHS.
> "Eighteen months later the VA still can't assure this Subcommittee or the
> veterans' community that medical research safety is significantly better,"
> Everett said. "I've read the GAO testimony, and it's painfully obvious the
> VA hasn't been aggressive in setting up safeguards to protect the rights
> veterans participating in medical experiments. The GAO has found a
> 'disturbing pattern of noncompliance" with mandated safeguards, and I want
> to know why. The operative word seems to be 'slow.'"
> To get more answers Chairman Everett will call on officials from the
> Veterans Health Administration, HHS and GAO to testify at the Thursday
> morning hearing. Because of the importance of the testimony the GAO is
> sending Assistant Comptroller General Victor S. Rezendes to testify before
> the Subcommittee.
> Please visit, the House Committee on Veterans'
Affairs web site, named 'One of the Best Web Sites in Congress' by the
Congressional Management Foundation, May 3, 1999.