Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (10/23/2001)

Disabled Veterans Service Dog and Health Care Improvement Act of 2001 - Title I: Veterans Health Care Improvement - Authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide: (1) service dogs to veterans enrolled in the veterans' patient enrollment system who are hearing impaired or have a spinal cord injury or dysfunction; and (2) related travel and incidental expenses.

(Sec. 102) Requires maintenance of the capacity to provide for the specialized treatment and rehabilitative needs of disabled veterans in each geographic service area of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Provides separate capacity measurement requirements for: (1) seriously mentally ill veterans; and (2) veterans with spinal cord dysfunction, traumatic brain injury, blindness, or prosthetics and sensory aids. Extends until April 2004 a required annual compliance report from the Secretary to the congressional veterans' committees. Requires each such report to be certified by or commented upon by the Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(Sec. 103) Revises the threshold used to determine a veteran's eligibility for health care to reflect locality cost-of-living variations. Prohibits more than a five percent Department resource reallocation after implementation of such revision.

(Sec. 104) Directs the Secretary to assess, and report to Congress on, all special telephone services for veterans provided by the Department.

(Sec. 105) Recodifies certain veterans' health-related authorities.

Directs the Secretary to provide consultation, counseling, training, and mental health services to family members in connection with a veteran receiving treatment for a service-connected disability, and authorizes the Secretary to provide such services in connection with a veteran receiving treatment for a non-service-connected disability. Authorizes related travel and transportation expenses.

Authorizes the Secretary to provide: (1) bereavement counseling to family members of veterans who die in the line of duty or veterans who were participating in a hospice program; and (2) humanitarian hospital or medical care in emergency cases (for a charge).

Extends through FY 2007 the Secretary's authority to charge certain medical care copayments.

(Sec. 107) Directs the Secretary to: (1) evaluate and study the feasibility and desirability of providing a personal emergency response system to veterans who have service-connected disabilities; and (2) report results to the veterans' committees. Allows the Secretary to provide such a system upon a positive evaluation.

Title II: Chiropractic Services - Establishes in the VHA a Chiropractic Service, headed by a Director.

(Sec. 202) Directs the Secretary to establish a program to provide chiropractic care to veterans through all Department medical centers through a gradual implementation process under which all centers offer such care by the end of FY 2006. Requires 30 medical centers to participate initially in such program and requires the program to be carried out through personal service contracts with licensed chiropractors. Requires the chiropractic services provided to include care for neuro-musculoskeletal conditions. Allows a veteran to choose a chiropractor as his or her primary care provider. Directs the Secretary to provide training and chiropractic services information to Department health care providers assigned to primary care teams to familiarize such providers with veterans' chiropractic services benefits. Establishes an advisory committee to review program implementation and requires the Secretary to report to the veterans' committees on such implementation.

Title III: National Commission on VA Nursing - Establishes in the Department the National Commission on VA Nursing to: (1) consider legislative and organizational policy changes to enhance the Department's recruitment and retention of nurses; (2) assess the future of the Department's nursing profession; and (3) report its findings and conclusions to Congress and the Secretary. Requires a report from the Secretary to Congress after the Commission report. Terminates the Commission 90 days after its report.