Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (09/28/1994)

Defines the term "disease," for purposes of determining the relationship between undiagnosed illness and disease for purposes of entitlement to veterans' disability compensation, as any deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of any part, organ, or system of the body that is manifested by a characteristic set of symptoms and signs and whose etiology, pathology, and prognosis may be known or unknown. Requires due consideration to be given to a veteran's service and medical records as well as the common or shared experiences, medical symptoms, or signs of other veterans who were engaged in similar service and who exhibit similar medical symptoms or signs.

(Sec. 2) Authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to investigate assertions that a group of veterans suffer from the same or similar health conditions related to similar military service and, if appropriate, to propose the establishment of a presumption of service connection. Requires a report from the Secretary to the appropriate congressional committees on whether such a presumption should be established between military service in Southwest Asia during the Persian Gulf War (War) and any health condition. States that if any such presumption is found, regulations should be published concerning the payment of appropriate disability compensation. Provides for the treatment of claims and compensation in such cases.

(Sec. 3) Directs the Secretary to: (1) develop and implement a uniform and comprehensive clinical evaluation protocol to provide extensive medical examinations to War veterans suffering from illnesses the origins of which are unknown and which may be attributable to service during such War; (2) report to specified congressional committees if such protocol has not been developed within 120 days after enactment of this Act; (3) make the evaluation under the protocol available to all Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers that have the capability of providing the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment required; (4) enter into appropriate contracts for the provision of the evaluation under the protocol; (5) provide a veteran's diagnosis or treatment at a non-Department facility if unable to do so at a Department facility; (6) enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences for independent review of the adequacy of the protocol and its implementation; and (7) provide for the effective cross-reference of information collected through the protocol with information collected and maintained through the comprehensive clinical protocols of the Department of Defense (DOD) for such War veterans.

(Sec. 4) Directs the Secretary to implement a comprehensive outreach program to inform War veterans and their families of the medical care and other benefits that may be provided by the Department and DOD arising from service in the War. Requires such outreach program to include a newsletter and telephone number for benefits information.

(Sec. 5) Amends the Persian Gulf War Veterans' Health Status Act to require additional information to be included in the Persian Gulf War Veterans Health Registry concerning the registration and health examinations of spouses and children of War veterans. Provides for diagnostic tests, medical examinations, and counseling for such individuals. Includes diagnostic tests within the authorized health examinations provided for veterans eligible for inclusion in the Registry.

(Sec. 7) Provides a minimum number of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions in the Department during the period between the enactment of this Act and the end of FY 1999. Allows the Secretary to reduce such number below the prescribed minimum only if necessary due to a reduction in funds available to the Department or as required specifically by law. Requires an annual report from the Secretary to the appropriate congressional committees on the number reduced. Excludes from the total number of Department FTE positions in a fiscal year, for purposes of ensuring that the total number of FTE positions in all Federal agencies does not exceed a prescribed limit, positions filled through nonappropriated funds and positions held by persons involved in medical care cost recovery activities.

(Sec. 8) Authorizes the Department during FY 1995 through 1999 to contract for services in order to achieve its workforce reduction requirements. Provides to employees displaced by contracted workers a priority for employment under such contract and assistance in obtaining other Federal employment or job training or retraining programs. Requires the Secretary to include information on the use of such contracting-out authority within the annual budget report submitted to the Congress.

(Sec. 9) Directs the Secretary to enter into an agreement with an appropriate non-Federal entity for carrying out a study of the feasibility and advisability of alternative organizational structures for the provision of health care services to veterans. Requires a report. Authorizes appropriations.