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VA Medical and Prosthetic Research
FOVA Recommendation: Medical and Prosthetic Research: $902 million
The coronavirus pandemic continues to place an unprecedented burden on medical researchers, including those conducting cutting-edge research at the Department of Veterans Affairs. FOVA recognizes the demands of many important programs for America’s veterans in the Military Construction, VA, and Related Agencies spending bill, and urges Congress to restore the VA research program to the sustained funding growth of recent years, without deleterious rescissions. FOVA’s FY 2022 recommendation of $902 million for VA research would return the investment in veteran-centric research to a trajectory of meaningful growth above inflation, allowing for new efforts to address COVID-19, health disparities, and clinical trials access, while renewing support for groundbreaking programs like the Million Veteran Program (MVP) and research on chronic and emerging needs of our nation’s veterans. Included within the FY 2022 recommendation is $29 million for additional investments needed to support the strained IT capacity, to be used for computational science purchases to enhance the collection and use of big data. Sustained and predictable funding growth for VA research is imperative to help ensure the best return on investment in improving the health of veterans and all Americans.
Physical and Information Technology Infrastructure
Major & Minor Construction: at least $100 million
A 2012 congressionally mandated report found a clear need for systematic infrastructure improvements for VA research laboratories. VA completed a Phase II assessment in 2020 of fewer than one-third of sites inspected in Phase I. Phase II findings show that while certain projects have received funding, significant deficiencies remain. Over $200 million was estimated to correct all deficiencies identified in the Phase II report, including $99.5 million in Priority 1 deficiencies, representing immediate needs such as life safety hazard corrections. FOVA believes designating funds specifically for research facilities is the only way to make significant improvements. For capital infrastructure, renovations, and maintenance, FOVA recommends at least $100 million for VA research facilities to address the most pressing repairs.
Office of Information and Technology: $42 million
VA’s Office of Information and Technology (OIT) is responsible for IT development and maintenance for programs including clinical, health management, benefits, security, and research. To advance and modernize the VA research program, OIT funding must be designated specifically for research use on a yearly basis. For FY 2022, FOVA recommends $42 million of the OIT budget to be assigned for VA research to support the purchase and maintenance of IT infrastructure, increase data storage and access capabilities, increase data security, increase interoperability with affiliated partners, and transition to more robust and functional cloud computing platforms.
FOVA FY 2022 Recommendations
VA Medical and Prosthetic Research: $902 million
VA Research Facilities:
At least $100 million for major and minor construction.