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Public Statements

Veterans Nonprofit Research and Education Corporations Enhancement Act of 2009

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


VETERANS NONPROFIT RESEARCH AND EDUCATION CORPORATIONS ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2009 -- (House of Representatives - July 27, 2009)

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Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in strong support of H.R. 2770. VA research is a very vital mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Focusing on research for the special health care of our veterans, VA's program has been recognized for excellence over many, many years. Boasting such developments as the cardiac pacemaker and the CAT scan, VA also lays claim to three Nobel Laureates and six Lasker Award winners.

In 1988 Congress allowed the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to authorize the establishment of nonprofit research corporations. Currently, 82 of these NPCs provide their affiliated VA health care systems and medical centers with a highly valued means of administering non-VA Federal research grants and private sector funds in support of VA research and education.

The fundamental purpose of these nonprofits is to serve veterans by supporting VA research and medical education to improve the quality of care that veterans receive. It has been 20 years now since the creation of the NPCs, and in that time the statute has never been updated. The purpose of this bill is to modernize and clarify that statute relating to nonprofit research education corporations so they can better support the research that is undertaken in the VA.

Specifically, the bill expands the general authorities on establishing nonprofit research corporations by authorizing the creation of multi-medical center research corporations where two or more VA medical centers share one corporation. It also clarifies the purposes of the corporations by allowing them to support functions related to research and education, such as travel to scientific conferences, improvements in laboratories with new equipment purchase, and support for the institutional review board.

Additionally, the bill modifies the requirements for the board of directors of the corporations so that they can acquire board members with legal and financial expertise for sound governance and financial management of the corporations. The legislation also provides clarification on reimbursements and other fee charges.

Finally, H.R. 2770 improves accountability and oversight of the corporations by detailing the audit requirements so that they are consistent with OMB Circular A-133, which provides guidance on audits, as well as clarifying that employees of the corporations are to be subject to a conflict of interest policy adopted by the corporation, instead of applying the Federal conflict of interest regulations to non- Federal employees.

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