Summary: H.R.3980 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (08/03/1998)

Persian Gulf War Veterans Health Care and Research Act of 1998 - Authorizes priority hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care for any illness for veterans who served on active duty: (1) in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Vietnam era; or (2) in combat against a hostile force after the date of enactment of this Act. Allows such priority notwithstanding that there is insufficient medical evidence to conclude that such condition is attributable to such service. Extends through December 31, 2001, the authority for the provision of such services to other Persian Gulf War veterans. Authorizes priority service for a period of five years after discharge or release. Requires a report from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to the Congress on the experiences under the priority care.

Elevates from level six to level four the priority assigned for purposes of enrollment for health care to veterans based on Persian Gulf War service, herbicide exposure during the Vietnam era, and exposure to ionizing radiation.

Directs the Secretary to establish in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs a National Center for the Study of War-Related Illnesses to promote the clinical, research, and educational activities of the VHA with respect to war-related illnesses, including medically unexplained illnesses.

Directs the Secretary to contract with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for the review of a methodology which could be used by the Department to determine the efficacy of treatments furnished to, and health outcomes of, Persian Gulf War veterans who have been treated for illnesses which may be associated with their service. Requires an implementation report from the Secretary to the congressional veterans' committees.

Authorizes the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense to contract with NAS to: (1) develop a curriculum pertaining to the care and treatment of Persian Gulf War veterans who have ill-defined or undiagnosed illnesses for use in the continuing medical education of both general and specialty physicians providing care to such veterans; and (2) periodically review and provide recommendations regarding the research plans and strategies of the respective Departments relating to the health consequences of military service in the Persian Gulf theater of operations during the Persian Gulf War.

Amends the Persian Gulf War Veterans' Health Status Act to direct Federal department or agency heads designated by the President to establish within their respective departments an advisory committee to advise on proposed research studies, plans, or strategies relating to the health consequences of military service in the Persian Gulf theater of operations. Requires: (1) related reports; and (2) the public availability of all research findings, including through the Internet World Wide Web.

Designates the Department medical center in: (1) Aspinwall, Pennsylvania, as the H. John Heinz III Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center; and (2) Gainesville, Florida, as the Malcom Randall Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Extends through April 1, 2001, reporting requirements of the Secretary concerning management of Department hospital care and medical services. Requires the VHA's Under Secretary for Health to prescribe objective standards of job performance for Department employees having responsibility for allocating and managing Department hospital and medical resources.

Extends through December 31, 2001, the authority to provide counseling and treatment to veterans to overcome sexual trauma.

Authorizes the Secretary to carry out a major medical facility project for construction of a spinal cord injury center at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Tampa, Florida, at a specified cost. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1999 for such construction. Allows the use of Construction, Major Projects, funding for fiscal years before 1999 for such project.