Summary: H.R.5740 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (10/15/1990)

Veterans' Health-Care Amendments of 1990 - Title I: Health-Care Benefits - Amends Federal veterans' benefits provisions to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to contract with non-Department of Veterans Affairs facilities for the treatment of any veteran who has a total and permanent service-connected disability.

Amends the Veterans' Health Care Amendments of 1986 to extend through FY 1992 an annual report requirement under such Act concerning the furnishing of non-service-connected health care to veterans.

Extends through FY 1991 the authority for the operation of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in the Philippines.

Title II: Health-Care Personnel - Provides the qualifications required for social workers employed by the Veterans Health Services and Research Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Requires a minimum two-year service requirement in the Department for graduates of the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Professional Scholarship Program.

Authorizes the Secretary to purchase promotional items of nominal value for recruitment purposes.

Authorizes a person appointed as a part-time employee of the Administration to receive and retain amounts paid for appearances, speeches, and articles that do not create a conflict of interests.

Title III: Health-Care Management - Requires a 60-day congressional notification period before the Secretary may undertake an administrative reorganization within the Department. Revises the definition of "administrative reorganization" for purposes of such provision to include a reduction in force during any fiscal year at a covered field office or facility of 15 percent or more, or of a percentage which, when added to other reductions at such field office or facility, is 25 percent or more of the total number of employees at such office or facility. Revises reporting requirements and definitions with respect to such administrative reorganizations.

Prohibits funds from being appropriated for any fiscal year, and prohibits the Secretary from obligating or expending funds, for any major medical project or major medical facility lease unless funds have been specifically authorized by law. Defines a "major medical facility lease" as a lease having an average annual rental amount of more than $300,000 (currently $500,000).

Requires the Geriatrics and Gerontology Advisory Committee to submit to the Secretary such reports as considered appropriate (currently, only one report is required) on all appropriate matters of geriatrics and gerontology. Adds certain assessments to such report requirements.

Title IV: Miscellaneous - Requires the Secretary to enter into an agreement with the Secretary of the Navy to facilitate the transfer of all medical follow-up data in possession of the Secretary of the Navy regarding Vietnam-era prisoners of war which has been collected by the Center for Prisoner of War Studies and the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute. Requires a report from the Secretary on such data. Provides funding.

Requires the Secretary to report on the implementation of certain benefits notice requirements with respect to health benefits claims decisions.

Title V: Expansion of Services for Veterans Suffering From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Makes it the policy of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to implement the recommendations of the Chief Medical Director's (CMD) Special Committee on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with respect to the specialized inpatient Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder unit (SIPU) program. Increases the number of SIPUs by six at the end of each of FY 1991 through 1995.

Requires the Special Committee to: (1) identify where the needs lie for expanding the Vet Center program for the treatment of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); and (2) present a list of at least 25 candidate sites to the Readjustment Counseling Service (RCS) by September 30, 1991. Directs the RCS to increase the number of Vet Centers by five at the end of each of FY 1992 through 1996. Requires the Readjustment Advisory Committee to prepare a report on recommendations to increase outreach efforts to all veterans with adjustment counseling needs.

Directs the Secretary to establish the Advisory Committee on Readjustment of Veterans. Directs the Secretary to consult with and seek the advice of the Committee with respect to: (1) the administration of Department benefits for post-Vietnam-era veterans and veterans of any war; (2) reports and studies pertaining to such veterans; and (3) the needs of such veterans with respect to compensation, health care, readjustment, outreach, and other benefits and programs administered by the Department. Requires the Committee to report annually to the Secretary on the programs and activities of the Department that pertain to the social, economic, educational, and psychological readjustment of veterans. Requires the Secretary to submit such reports to the Congress.

Authorizes the Secretary, in furnishing hospital, nursing home, and domiciliary care and medical and rehabilitative services to veterans, to conduct a pilot program under which the Secretary contracts for the care and treatment of veterans suffering from PTSD in halfway houses, therapeutic communities, psychiatric residential treatment centers, and other community-based treatment facilities. Requires the pilot program to be planned, designed, and conducted by the CMD to demonstrate the medical advantage and cost effectiveness of treating such veterans in such manner, rather than in Department facilities. Requires the Secretary's approval of any program for such alternative care. Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) urge all Federal agencies and public and private firms to provide appropriate employment and training opportunities for veterans who have been provided such treatment and who have been determined to be reemployable; and (2) provide assistance to the Secretary of Labor in placing such veterans in such opportunities. Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide referral and other advice to veterans seeking treatment for PTSD who are not eligible for such alternative program. Limits to 500 the number of individuals that may participate in the pilot program at any one time, and limits the pilot program to the five-year period beginning with FY 1992. Requires a report from the Secretary to the Veterans' Affairs Committees concerning the success of the program.

Directs the Special Committee to examine the effectiveness of contracts for the treatment of PTSD with private facilities and therapists and to report to the veterans' committees on its findings and recommendations.

Directs the Secretary, in administering the Health Professionals Educational Assistance Program, to encourage the participation of individuals in the program who desire to become psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and other professionals specializing in the treatment of PTSD.

Directs the CMD to conduct research programs on: (1) the preparation of a plan for an intermodal approach to the treatment of PTSD with recommendations for the Department's future activities in this respect; and (2) the effectiveness of involving the family in the treatment of PTSD. Requires a report from the CMD to the veterans' committees.

States as the policy of the Secretary to implement the recommendations of the Special Committee with respect to the PTSD clinical team program. Directs the Secretary to increase existing programs by at least ten units by the end of each of FY 1993 through 1996.