Charlie Crist and Jeff Denham Led VA Medical Waste Reform Bill Passes In The House

By Sunshine State News

This week, a congressman from Florida helped get a bill having the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) install on-site medical waste treatment systems in its facilities through the U.S. House.

At the end of May, U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., unveiled the “Department of Veterans Affairs Creation of On-Site Treatment Systems Affording Veterans Improvements and Numerous General Safety Enhancements Act” (VA COST SAVINGS Enhancements Act) with U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., as the main cosponsor.

Denham and Crist insist their proposal will help save taxpayer dollars and will reduce transporting infectious material and would free up millions every year for the VA.

“Those who have worn the cloth of this great nation deserve our utmost care and attention,” said Denham when he introduced the bill back in May. “This bill will shake loose tangible resources to bring improvements in veterans care across the country.”

“Improving efficiency at the VA means prioritizing resources for where they are needed most – caring for our veterans,” said Crist when the bill was introduced. “With this bill we are working together to make government work better and to put our heroes first.”

“On-site sterilization machines compact medical ‘red bag’ waste and destroy microbial life, rendering hazardous bio-waste safe,” Crist’s office noted. “Otherwise, this infectious waste is loaded into trucks and driven to regional disposal centers – a process that is dangerous, costly, and inefficient. System wide, this bill will save the VA millions of dollars each year and improve care for our veterans. This technology improves crisis-readiness and is safer, more efficient, more cost-effective, and more environmentally friendly than traditional medical waste disposal. Implementing this technology will align the VA with Centers for Disease Control best practices for infection control, and VA hospitals will no longer need to truck millions of pounds of hazardous waste to far-away disposal centers.”

Three other members of the U.S. House were also cosponsors: U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, D-Ill., and U.S. Rep. Ann Kuster, D-NH.

The bill was passed this week on voice vote and sent over to the U.S. Senate where, so far, there is no sponsor.

Crist weighed in on the matter on Wednesday after the House passed the bill.

“This is how Congress should work – coming together to pass common-sense measures to save taxpayer dollars, enhance safety, and better serve those who have served us,” said Crist. “I am hopeful that this smart policy soon becomes law and encourages more progress on bipartisan efforts to improve care for our veterans.”