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VA Medical and Prosthetic Research
FOVA Recommendation: Medical and Prosthetic Research: $980 million
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 continue its reliable and robust growth in the VA research program without recissions. FOVA’s FY 2023 recommendation of $980 million for VA research would enhance the investment in veteran-centric research on a trajectory of meaningful growth above inflation, allowing for sustained support for efforts to address long-term health impacts of COVID-19, health disparities, and increase clinical trials access, while renewing support for groundbreaking programs like the Million Veteran Program (MVP), VA’s participation in the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, and research on chronic and emerging needs of our nation’s veterans. Increased funding for the VA research program will also support researchers as they recover from slowed research progress during the pandemic and allow for additional investments to support the strained IT capacity through 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
State-of-the-art research requires an investment in state-of-the-art facilities, technology, and equipment. For decades, appropriations for construction, maintenance, and IT have not provided the resources VA needs to replace, maintain, or upgrade its aging research and IT infrastructure to support the research program. For FY 2023, FOVA recommends the following funding to support physical and IT research 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 – at least $22 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 2023, FOVA recommends at least $22 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.