Casey introduces bill to make Legionnaires' reporting mandatory at VA hospitals

He previously said the illnesses and deaths from Legionnaires' revealed "dangerous gaps in reporting requirements for the VA Health System."

"Senator Casey's legislation seeks to close those gaps by requiring additional oversight, mandatory reporting and penalties if this does not happen," his office said in a press release.

Mr. Casey has planned a 3:30 p.m. teleconference today to discuss the bill, which will require the VAHS to report any infection that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified as reportable.

A VA facility would be required to report confirmed cases to the Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C., as well as county, state and federal health agencies designated to receive such information and monitor infection rates.

The VA also would be required to notify the patient, next of kin and the patient's primary care provider of any infection identified by the CDC as requiring notification.

A similar U.S. House bill that Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., introduced April 29 would require all VA medical facilities nationwide to report patients' cases of infectious diseases to state health departments where they're located, a requirement by which nonfederal hospitals have to abide but from which VA facilities are exempt.

Mr. Casey previously said changes are necessary "to ensure that the right entities are adequately informed so that they can help stop the spread of this kind of infectious disease."

In response to Mr. Casey's past statements about a pending bill, VA spokesman Mark Ballesteros said the VA does not provide official views on legislation to the public. But he added in a statement: "Senior VA leaders at the local and national levels continue to be directly engaged with members of Congress, leaders in the community, stakeholders, employees, and most importantly, veterans, on this issue."

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