Summary: S.1195 — 100th Congress (1987-1988)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.1195. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (05/12/1987)

Veterans' Administration Health-Care Personnel Act of 1987 - Amends Federal veterans' benefits provisions to authorize the Administrator of Veterans Affairs to provide premium pay if necessary to obtain or retain the services of pharmacists or occupational therapists.

Authorizes premium pay for nurses performing a shift any part of which is performed on a Saturday. (Currently, such premium pay is authorized only for Sunday duty.) Directs the Administrator to require that the Chief of Nursing Service (or designee) at each Veterans Administration (VA) facility be included in the membership of each policymaking and fiscal committee at each such facility.

Repeals current provisions governing the Veterans' Administration Health Professional Scholarship Program and adds a new chapter establishing a program to be known as the Veterans' Administration Health Professional Educational Assistance Program (the Program), to be comprised of: (1) the Veterans' Administration Health Professional Scholarship Program (the Scholarship Program); and (2) the Veterans' Administration Health Professional Tuition Reimbursement Program (the Tuition Reimbursement Program). Outlines eligibility requirements and application procedures for participation in the Scholarship Program. Requires the Administrator and a successful applicant to enter into a written contract which allows the applicant to accept payment of educational assistance in return for the promise to serve a period of obligated service within the VA's Department of Medicine and Surgery. Entitles the United States to damages for a participant's breach of contract. Allows the monthly stipend paid under the Scholarship Program or the tuition reimbursement paid under the Tuition Reimbursement Program to be increased for each school year in conformity with increases in the GS wage levels of the Government.

Directs the Administrator, no later than March 1 annually, to report to the Congress detailing certain information concerning the number of applicants, participants, scholarships awarded, and tuition and other expenses paid under the two educational assistance programs, as well as the number of participants who successfully completed such program during the previous year. Directs the Administrator to prescribe regulations to carry out the Educational Assistance Program.

Provides that any obligation of a participant for service or payment of damages for breach of contract is canceled upon the death of the participant. Directs the Administrator to prescribe regulations providing for the waiver or suspension of any obligation under such Program when compliance by the participant is impossible due to circumstances beyond the control of the participant or whenever the Administrator determines that such waiver or suspension would be in the best interest of the VA. Authorizes such required service to be exchanged with similar service required under other Federal programs. Exempts educational assistance payments from State or Federal taxation.

Prohibits the Administrator from furnishing scholarships to new participants in the Scholarship Program after September 30, 1992. Outlines eligibility requirements and application procedures for participation in the Scholarship Program. Requires the Administrator to notify the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees no less than 60 days before awarding a scholarship in a course of training other than medicine or nursing. Requires the Administrator and a successful applicant under the Scholarship Program to enter into a written contract which allows the participant to accept such scholarship payments from the Administrator in return for the participant's agreement to serve for a specified period of time in the VA's Department of Medicine and Surgery. Sets forth the amounts of scholarship payments, educational expenses, and monthly stipends to be provided under the Scholarship Program. Provides for participation as a part-time student in the Scholarship Program for individuals who are full-time VA employees permanently assigned to a VA health-care facility. Provides for a reduced monthly scholarship payment for individuals participating as part-time students, and allows a scholarship for a part-time student to be extended for up to six school years if the Administrator determines such extension to be in the best interest of the United States.

Requires each participant in the Scholarship Program to provide service as a full-time employee of the VA for the agreed-upon period. Requires the Administrator, for either a full-time or part-time student participant in the Scholarship Program, to notify the participant of the applicable date for the commencement of the obligated period of service as a VA employee. Provides further information concerning the obligated period of service for Scholarship Program participants and the determination of the service commencement period, including the determination of such commencement period for students who are required as part of their educational requirements to serve a period of medical internship or residency.

Outlines provisions concerning the liability of a Scholarship Program participant who refuses to accept the scholarship payments as required under the written contract or who instructs the educational institution being attended to refuse to accept such payments. Specifies an amount to be owed to the United States as liquidated damages for breach of contract in such cases. States than an individual shall be liable to the United States for any amount that has been paid to the participant for which such participant failed to perform the service obligation as specified in the written contract.

Outlines eligibility requirements and application procedures for participation in the Tuition Reimbursement Program. Gives priority in the selection of individuals to individuals who have demonstrated superior proficiency and performance as determined by the Chief Nurse of the facility at which the individual is employed. Requires the Administrator, not less than 60 days before awarding tuition reimbursement assistance to any individual for a course of training other than nursing, to notify the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees of the reasons for the awarding of such assistance. Requires the Administrator and a successful applicant to enter into a written contract under the Tuition Reimbursement Program whereby the Administrator agrees to provide tuition reimbursement assistance in return for the participant's promise to serve as a full-time employee in the VA's Department of Medicine and Surgery for a specified period of obligated service. Sets an annual ceiling on the amount of tuition reimbursement paid per individual.

Requires participants in the Tuition Reimbursement Program to provide full-time clinical practice service for the VA for the period of obligated service as provided in the written contract. Requires a participant whose tuition was paid pursuant to a contract with an educational institution to provide courses at a VA health-care facility to complete the period of obligated service provided in the written contract even if the participant fails to complete the course involved for which the tuition was reimbursed.

Outlines the liability of a participant in the Tuition Reimbursement Program who fails to maintain full-time employment with the VA while in such Program or who fails to complete the required period of obligated service. Requires the Administrator, in determining the amount of funding necessary for the Tuition Reimbursement Program, to take into account: (1) the personnel ceiling for nursing personnel; and (2) the recruitment and retention needs of that facility.