(a)Requirement for Office.—
There is in the Veterans Health Administration an Office of Research Oversight (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Office”). The Office shall advise the Under Secretary for Health on matters of compliance and assurance in human subjects protections, research safety, and research impropriety and misconduct. The Office shall function independently of entities within the Veterans Health Administration with responsibility for the conduct of medical research programs.
(2) The Office shall—
The head of the Office shall be a Director, who shall report directly to the Under Secretary for Health (without delegation).
The Director shall report to the Under Secretary for Health on matters relating to protections of human subjects in medical research projects of the Department under any applicable Federal law and regulation, the safety of employees involved in Department medical research programs, and suspected misconduct and impropriety in such programs. In carrying out the preceding sentence, the Director shall consult with employees of the Veterans Health Administration who are responsible for the management and conduct of Department medical research programs.
In a case in which the Director reasonably believes that activities of a medical research project of the Department place human subjects’ lives or health at imminent risk, the Director shall direct that activities under that project be immediately suspended or, as appropriate and specified by the Director, be limited.
The Director shall submit to the Under Secretary for Health, the Secretary, and the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report on any suspected lapse, from whatever cause or causes, in protecting safety of human subjects and others, including employees, in medical research programs of the Department.
The Director shall carry out such other duties as the Under Secretary for Health may require.
(e)Source of Funds.—
Amounts for the activities of the Office, including its regional offices, shall be derived from amounts appropriated for the Veterans Health Administration for Medical Care.
(f)Annual Report.—Not later than March 15 each year, the Director shall submit to the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report on the activities of the Office during the preceding calendar year. Each such report shall include, with respect to that year, the following:
Directives and other communications issued by the Office to field activities of the Department.
Results of any investigations undertaken by the Office during the reporting period consonant with the purposes of this section.