Summary: S.2043 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (08/01/2002)

Veterans Long-Term Care and Mental Health Programs Enhancement Act of 2002 - Title I: Long-Term Care and Mental Health Programs Enhancement - Subtitle A: Long-Term Care - Extends through December 31, 2008, the period during which: (1) noninstitutional extended care services will be considered to be medical services required to be provided by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to eligible veterans; and (2) the Secretary shall be required to provide nursing home care to veterans with service-connected disabilities.

Subtitle B: Mental Health Programs - Amends the Veterans Millennium Health Care and Benefits Act to increase and extend through FY 2005 the authorization of appropriations for a program to expand and improve the provision of specialized mental health services to veterans. Requires the Secretary to allocate specified amounts of such funds among programs: (1) identified by the Mental Health Strategic Health Care Group and the Committee on Care of Severely Chronically Mentally Ill Veterans; (2) on post-traumatic stress disorder; and (3) on substance abuse disorder.

(Sec. 112) Makes permanent (currently expires December 31, 2004) a program requiring the Secretary to provide counseling to veterans to overcome psychological trauma resulting from a physical assault or battery of a sexual nature, or from sexual harassment, which occurred during active military service.

(Sec.113) Authorizes the Secretary to establish and operate up to 15 (currently five) centers for mental illness research, education, and clinical activities.

Title II: Construction Matters - Subtitle A: Construction Authorization - Authorizes the Secretary to carry out major medical facility projects for: (1) seismic corrections at Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Palo Alto, West Los Angeles, and San Francisco, California; and (2) construction of a long-term care facility at a Department Medical Center in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

(Sec. 202) Authorizes appropriations for FY 2003 for the Construction, Major Projects, account.

(Sec. 203) Amends the Veterans Benefits and Health Care Improvement Act of 2000 to increase the authorization of appropriations for construction of a nursing home at the Department Medical Center in Beckley, West Virginia.

Subtitle B: Other Matters - Increases from $4 million to $9 million the threshold for Department major construction projects.

(Sec. 212) Authorizes the Secretary to make a grant to the State of Alaska to expand, remodel, or alter space in six separate Pioneer Homes (elderly living) dedicated to the provision of care for veterans. Limits such grant to $16 million.

Title III: General Health Care Matters - Subtitle A: Prescription Copayment Adjustment - Conforms income thresholds for copayment of veterans' outpatient medications to those in effect for hospital and nursing home care and medical treatment.

Subtitle B: Extensions of Authorities - Revises the effective date of an amendment made under the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Programs Enhancement Act of 2001 of the modification of treatment for retirement annuity purposes of part-time service performed before April 7, 1986, by certain health-care professionals of the Veterans Health Administration. Requires the Office of Personnel Management to recompute the annuity of such individuals to conform with changes made under this Act.

(Sec. 322) Extends through December 31, 2011, the eligibility for Persian Gulf War veterans to receive hospital, nursing home, and domiciliary care through the Department.

Subtitle C: Other Matters - Allows employees of the Veterans' Canteen Service to be considered for appointment in Department positions in the competitive service in the same manner that Department employees in the competitive service are considered for transfer to Canteen Service positions.

(Sec. 332) Requires the Secretary, during FY 2003 and 2004, to carry out a pilot program to assess providing health care and services for veterans in the State of Washington through outreach clinics. Requires: (1) each clinic to provide basic health services, including diagnosis and referral to other Department health care facilities; (2) the Secretary to provide services at each selected clinic at least one day each week; and (3) the Secretary to report to the veterans' committees on the pilot project.