Text: H.R.1220 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

Text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip?

Shown Here:
Referred in Senate (07/14/2005)

 
[Congressional Bills 109th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 1220 Referred in Senate (RFS)]

  1st Session
                                H. R. 1220


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             July 14, 2005

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
To increase, effective as of December 1, 2005, the rates of disability 
 compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the 
rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for survivors of certain 
      service-connected disabled veterans, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as ``Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living 
Adjustment Act of 2005''.

SEC. 2. INCREASE IN RATES OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND DEPENDENCY AND 
              INDEMNITY COMPENSATION.

    (a) Rate Adjustment.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall, 
effective on December 1, 2005, increase the dollar amounts in effect 
for the payment of disability compensation and dependency and indemnity 
compensation by the Secretary, as specified in subsection (b).
    (b) Amounts to Be Increased.--The dollar amounts to be increased 
pursuant to subsection (a) are the following:
            (1) Compensation.--Each of the dollar amounts in effect 
        under section 1114 of title 38, United States Code.
            (2) Additional compensation for dependents.--Each of the 
        dollar amounts in effect under section 1115(1) of such title.
            (3) Clothing allowance.--The dollar amount in effect under 
        section 1162 of such title.
            (4) New dic rates.--The dollar amounts in effect under 
        paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 1311(a) of such title.
            (5) Old dic rates.--Each of the dollar amounts in effect 
        under section 1311(a)(3) of such title.
            (6) Additional dic for surviving spouses with minor 
        children.--The dollar amounts in effect under section 1311(b) 
        of such title and paragraph (1) of section 1311(f) of such 
        title (as redesignated by subsection (e) of this section).
            (7) Additional dic for disability.--The dollar amounts in 
        effect under sections 1311(c) and 1311(d) of such title.
            (8) DIC for dependent children.--The dollar amounts in 
        effect under sections 1313(a) and 1314 of such title.
    (c) Determination of Increase.--
            (1) Base for increase.--The increase under subsection (a) 
        shall be made in the dollar amounts specified in subsection (b) 
        as in effect on November 30, 2005.
            (2) Percentage of increase.--Except as provided in 
        paragraph (3), each such amount shall be increased by the same 
        percentage as the percentage by which benefit amounts payable 
        under title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401 et 
        seq.) are increased effective December 1, 2005, as a result of 
        a determination under section 215(i) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 
        415(i)).
            (3) Rounding.--Each dollar amount increased pursuant to 
        paragraph (2) shall, if not a whole dollar amount, be rounded 
        down to the next lower whole dollar amount.
    (d) Special Rule.--The Secretary may adjust administratively, 
consistent with the increases made under subsection (a), the rates of 
disability compensation payable to persons within the purview of 
section 10 of Public Law 85-857 (72 Stat. 1263) who are not in receipt 
of compensation payable pursuant to chapter 11 of title 38, United 
States Code.
    (e) Designation Correction.--Section 1311 of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended by redesignating the second subsection (e) 
(added by section 301(a) of the Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 
2004 (Public Law 108-454; 118 Stat. 3610)) as subsection (f).

SEC. 3. PUBLICATION OF ADJUSTED RATES.

    At the same time as the matters specified in section 215(i)(2)(D) 
of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 415(i)(2)(D)) are required to be 
published by reason of a determination made under section 215(i) of 
such Act during fiscal year 2006, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
shall publish in the Federal Register the amounts specified in 
subsection (b) of section 2, as increased pursuant to that section.

SEC. 4. CODIFICATION OF FISCAL YEAR 2005 COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT 
              PROVIDED IN PUBLIC LAW 108-363.

    (a) Veterans' Disability Compensation.--Section 1114 of title 38, 
United States Code, is amended--
            (1) in subsection (a), by striking ``$106'' and inserting 
        ``$108'';
            (2) in subsection (b), by striking ``$205'' and inserting 
        ``$210'';
            (3) in subsection (c), by striking ``$316'' and inserting 
        ``$324'';
            (4) in subsection (d), by striking ``$454'' and inserting 
        ``$466'';
            (5) in subsection (e), by striking ``$646'' and inserting 
        ``$663'';
            (6) in subsection (f), by striking ``$817'' and inserting 
        ``$839'';
            (7) in subsection (g), by striking ``$1,029'' and inserting 
        ``$1,056'';
            (8) in subsection (h), by striking ``$1,195'' and inserting 
        ``$1,227'';
            (9) in subsection (i), by striking ``$1,344'' and inserting 
        ``$1,380'';
            (10) in subsection (j), by striking ``$2,239'' and 
        inserting ``$2,299'';
            (11) in subsection (k)--
                    (A) by striking ``$82'' both places it appears and 
                inserting ``$84''; and
                    (B) by striking ``$2,785'' and ``$3,907'' and 
                inserting ``$2,860'' and ``$4,012'', respectively;
            (12) in subsection (l), by striking ``$2,785'' and 
        inserting ``$2,860'';
            (13) in subsection (m), by striking ``$3,073'' and 
        inserting ``$3,155'';
            (14) in subsection (n), by striking ``$3,496'' and 
        inserting ``$3,590'';
            (15) in subsections (o) and (p), by striking ``$3,907'' 
        each place it appears and inserting ``$4,012'';
            (16) in subsection (r), by striking ``$1,677'' and 
        ``$2,497'' and inserting ``$1,722'' and ``$2,564'', 
        respectively; and
            (17) in subsection (s), by striking ``$2,506'' and 
        inserting ``$2,573''.
    (b) Additional Compensation for Dependents.--Section 1115(1) of 
such title is amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``$127'' and inserting 
        ``$130'';
            (2) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``$219'' and ``$65'' 
        and inserting ``$224'' and ``$66'', respectively;
            (3) in subparagraph (C), by striking ``$86'' and ``$65'' 
        and inserting ``$88'' and ``$66'', respectively;
            (4) in subparagraph (D), by striking ``$103'' and inserting 
        ``$105'';
            (5) in subparagraph (E), by striking ``$241''and inserting 
        ``$247''; and
            (6) in subparagraph (F), by striking ``$202'' and inserting 
        ``$207''.
    (c) Clothing Allowance for Certain Disabled Veterans.--Section 1162 
of such title is amended by striking ``$600'' and inserting ``$616''.
    (d) Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Surviving Spouses.--
            (1) New law dic.--Section 1311(a) of such title is 
        amended--
                    (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``$967'' and 
                inserting ``$993''; and
                    (B) in paragraph (2), by striking ``$208'' and 
                inserting ``$213''.
            (2) Old law dic.--The table in paragraph (3) of such 
        section is amended to read as follows:


 
             ``Pay grade                         Monthly rate                   Pay grade          Monthly rate
 
E-1..................................  $993                              W-4....................          $1,188
E-2..................................  $993                              O-1....................          $1,049
E-3..................................  $993                              O-2....................          $1,084
E-4..................................  $993                              O-3....................          $1,160
E-5..................................  $993                              O-4....................          $1,227
E-6..................................  $993                              O-5....................          $1,351
E-7..................................  $1,027                            O-6....................          $1,523
E-8..................................  $1,084                            O-7....................          $1,645
E-9..................................  $1,1311                           O-8....................          $1,805
W-1..................................  $1,049                            O-9....................          $1,931
W-2..................................  $1,091                            O-10...................         $2,1182
W-3..................................  $1,123                            .......................  ..............
 
1 If the veteran served as sergeant major of the Army, senior enlisted advisor of the Navy, chief master
  sergeant of the Air Force, sergeant major of the Marine Corps, or master chief petty officer of the Coast
  Guard, at the applicable time designated by section 1302 of this title, the surviving spouse's rate shall be
  $1,221.
2 If the veteran served as Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief of Staff of the Army,
  Chief of Naval Operations, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Commandant of the Marine Corps, or Commandant of
  the Coast Guard, at the applicable time designated by section 1302 of this title, the surviving spouse's rate
  shall be $2,272.''.

            (3) Additional dic for children or disability.--Section 
        1311 of such title is amended--
                    (A) in subsection (b), by striking ``$241'' and 
                inserting ``$247'';
                    (B) in subsection (c), by striking ``$241'' and 
                inserting ``$247''; and
                    (C) in subsection (d), by striking ``$115'' and 
                inserting ``$118''.
    (e) Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Children.--
            (1) Dic when no surviving spouse.--Section 1313(a) of such 
        title is amended--
                    (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``$410'' and 
                inserting ``$421'';
                    (B) in paragraph (2), by striking ``$590'' and 
                inserting ``$605'';
                    (C) in paragraph (3), by striking ``$767'' and 
                inserting ``$787''; and
                    (D) in paragraph (4), by striking ``$767'' and 
                ``$148'' and inserting ``$787'' and ``$151'', 
                respectively.
            (2) Supplemental dic for certain children.--Section 1314 of 
        such title is amended--
                    (A) in subsection (a), by striking ``$241'' and 
                inserting ``$247'';
                    (B) in subsection (b), by striking ``$410'' and 
                inserting ``$421''; and
                    (C) in subsection (c), by striking ``$205'' and 
                inserting ``$210''.

SEC. 5. DEMONSTRATION PROJECT TO IMPROVE BUSINESS PRACTICES OF VETERANS 
              HEALTH ADMINISTRATION.

    (a) Demonstration Project Required.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
        conduct a demonstration project under this section for the 
        improvement of business practices of the Veterans Health 
        Administration.
            (2) Performance-based contract.-- To carry out the 
        demonstration project, the Secretary shall enter into a 
        performance-based contract for a contractor to carry out the 
        functions specified in subsection (e).
            (3) Cost limitation.--The total amount paid to the 
        contractor under the contract may not exceed $10,000,000.
    (b) Commencement and Duration of Project.--The demonstration 
project shall be conducted during the two-year period beginning on the 
first day of the first month beginning more than 120 days after the 
date of the enactment of this Act.
    (c) Sites for Conduct of Project.--The Secretary shall conduct the 
demonstration project at two facilities, at least one of which shall be 
a medical center, of the Veterans Health Administration within the same 
service area (referred to as a Veterans Integrated Service Network) of 
the Veterans Health Administration. The two facilities at which the 
project is conducted shall be selected by the Secretary from among 
facilities that the Secretary determines have relatively low 
performance for recovery or collection of indebtedness from third-party 
payors under section 1729 of title 38, United States Code.
    (d) Selection of Contractor.--The Secretary shall carry out the 
process for selection of the contractor for the demonstration project 
so that the contractor to perform the contract is selected, and the 
contract is awarded, not later than three months after the date of the 
enactment of this Act. The contractor shall be an entity or 
organization that has significant experience in the administrative 
processing of health care charges and claims.
    (e) Functions of Contractor.--The Secretary shall provide in the 
contract for the following functions of the contractor with respect to 
each facility at which the demonstration project is conducted:
            (1) Detailed specification of existing business processes 
        that the contractor determines are relevant to the capability 
        of the facility to recover or collect indebtedness from third-
        party payors under section 1729 of title 38, United States 
        Code.
            (2) Reengineering of the business processes identified 
        under paragraph (1), including provision for standardized 
        application of such reengineered processes throughout the 
        facility.
            (3) Establish and implement a plan to transition from the 
        business processes identified under paragraph (1) to the 
        reengineered and standardized businesses established pursuant 
        to paragraph (2).
            (4) Establishment of a comprehensive database containing 
        third-party payor information for veterans receiving health 
        care and services at the facility.
    (f) VHA Project Manager.--As part of the demonstration project, the 
Secretary shall ensure that a Veterans Health Administration employee 
is designated to be the full-time project manager for the project and 
that such employee's duty station is at one of the facilities at which 
the project is conducted, with provision for visits as needed to the 
other facility at which the project is conducted.
    (g) Employee Protection.--The Secretary shall administer the 
demonstration project so that during the period of the conduct of the 
demonstration project there is no reduction in active full-time 
equivalent employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs at the 
facilities at which the project is conducted that is attributable to 
the conduct of the demonstration project.
    (h) Reports to Congress.--
            (1) Periodic progress reports on project implementation.--
                    (A) Reports required.--The Secretary shall submit 
                to Congress progress reports on the implementation of 
                the demonstration project.
                    (B) Time for progress reports.-- Such reports shall 
                be submitted as expeditiously as feasible after the end 
                of--
                            (i) the 60-day period and the 90-day period 
                        beginning on the date of the enactment of this 
                        Act; and
                            (ii) the 60-day period, the 90-day period, 
                        and the 180-day period beginning on the date of 
                        the award of the contract under subsection (d).
                    (C) Matter to be included.--Each report under this 
                paragraph shall set out the progress to date of the 
                demonstration project, including--
                            (i) before the contractor has been 
                        selected, progress toward selection of the 
                        contractor (identified by the steps in the 
                        acquisition process that have been accomplished 
                        and that remain to be accomplished); and
                            (ii) after the contractor has been 
                        selected--
                                    (I) the contractor's progress in 
                                initiating and carrying out the 
                                demonstration project in accordance 
                                with the requirements of this section; 
                                and
                                    (II) a copy of each contract under 
                                the demonstration project and any 
                                change order or modification to any 
                                such contract.
            (2) Interim reports on project operation.--After the 
        completion of the first 12 months, and after the completion of 
        the first 18 months, of the demonstration project, the 
        Secretary shall submit to Congress an interim report on the 
        operation of the demonstration project to that date. Each such 
        report shall include the following:
                    (A) The assessment of the Secretary as to whether 
                the rate of recovery or collection of indebtedness owed 
                the United States from third-party payors has improved 
                by reason of the project.
                    (B) The assessment of the Secretary as to the 
                performance of the contractor.
            (3) Final report.--
                    (A) Requirement.--After the conclusion of the 
                demonstration project, the Secretary shall submit to 
                Congress a final report on the project.
                    (B) Content.--The Secretary shall include in that 
                report--
                            (i) the matters specified in paragraph (2);
                            (ii) the Secretary's estimate of cost 
                        savings to the Department attributable to the 
                        reengineered business processes implemented 
                        under the demonstration project, with 
                        supporting evidence and documentation for such 
                        estimate; and
                            (iii) the Secretary's recommendation for 
                        implementing on a permanent basis the recovery 
                        or collection system demonstrated in the 
                        project and expanding the project to other 
                        facilities of the Veterans Health 
                        Administration.
                    (C) Submission.--The final report shall be 
                submitted not later than 90 days after the conclusion 
                of the demonstration project.
    (i) Comptroller General Review and Reports.--
            (1) Review.--The Comptroller General shall review the 
        demonstration project on an ongoing basis.
            (2) Reports.--The Comptroller General shall submit to 
        Congress a report on the Comptroller General's findings and 
        recommendations concerning the demonstration project--
                    (A) after the operation of the demonstration 
                project for a period of one year; and
                    (B) after the operation of the demonstration 
                project for a period of two years.
    (j) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the conduct of 
the demonstration project under this section the sum of $10,000,000.

SEC. 6. PARKINSON'S DISEASE RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND CLINICAL CENTERS.

    (a) Requirement for Establishment of Centers.--
            (1) In general.--Subchapter II of chapter 73 of title 38, 
        United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the 
        following new section:
``Sec. 7329. Parkinson's Disease research, education, and clinical 
              centers
    ``(a) The Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary 
for Health and pursuant to the provisions of this section, shall 
designate six Department health-care facilities as the locations for 
centers of Parkinson's Disease research, education, and clinical 
activities and (subject to the appropriation of sufficient funds for 
such purpose) shall establish and operate such centers at such 
locations in accordance with this section.
    ``(b) In designating locations for centers under subsection (a), 
the Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for 
Health, shall--
            ``(1) designate each Department health-care facility that 
        as of January 1, 2005, was operating a Parkinson's Disease 
        research, education, and clinical center unless (on the 
        recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health) the Secretary 
        determines that such facility does not meet the requirements of 
        subsection (c) or has not demonstrated effectiveness in 
        carrying out the established purposes of such center or the 
        potential to carry out such purposes effectively in the 
        reasonably foreseeable future; and
            ``(2) assure appropriate geographic distribution of such 
        facilities.
    ``(c) The Secretary may not designate a health-care facility as a 
location for a center under subsection (a) unless the peer review panel 
established under subsection (d) has determined under that subsection 
that the proposal submitted by such facility as a location for a new 
center under subsection (a) is among those proposals which have met the 
highest competitive standards of scientific and clinical merit, and the 
Secretary (upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health) 
determines that the facility has (or may reasonably be anticipated to 
develop) each of the following:
            ``(1) An arrangement with an accredited medical school 
        which provides education and training in neurology and with 
        which such facility is affiliated under which residents receive 
        education and training in innovative diagnosis and treatment of 
        chronic neurodegenerative diseases and movement disorders, 
        including Parkinson's disease.
            ``(2) The ability to attract the participation of 
        scientists who are capable of ingenuity and creativity in 
        health-care research efforts.
            ``(3) A policymaking advisory committee composed of 
        appropriate health-care and research representatives of the 
        facility and of the affiliated school or schools to advise the 
        directors of such facility and such center on policy matters 
        pertaining to the activities of such center during the period 
        of the operation of such center.
            ``(4) The capability to conduct effectively evaluations of 
        the activities of such center.
            ``(5) The capability to coordinate, as part of an 
        integrated national system, education, clinical, and research 
        activities within all facilities with such centers.
            ``(6) The capability to jointly develop a consortium of 
        providers with interest in treating neurodegenerative diseases, 
        including Parkinson's Disease, and other movement disorders, at 
        facilities without such centers in order to ensure better 
        access to state-of-the-art diagnosis, care, and education for 
        neurodegenerative disorders throughout the health care system.
            ``(7) The capability to develop a national repository for 
        the collection of data on health services delivered to veterans 
        seeking care for neurodegenerative diseases, including 
        Parkinson's Disease, and other movement disorders in the health 
        care system.
    ``(d)(1) The Under Secretary for Health shall establish a panel to 
assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals that are 
submitted to the Secretary for the establishment of new centers under 
this section.
    ``(2)(A) The membership of the panel shall consist of experts in 
neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's Disease, and other 
movement disorders.
    ``(B) Members of the panel shall serve as consultants to the 
Department for a period of no longer than two years except in the case 
of panelists asked to serve on the initial panel as specified in 
subparagraph (C).
    ``(C) In order to ensure panel continuity, half of the members of 
the first panel shall be appointed for a period of three years and half 
for a period of two years.
    ``(3) The panel shall review each proposal submitted to the panel 
by the Under Secretary and shall submit its views on the relative 
scientific and clinical merit of each such proposal to the Under 
Secretary.
    ``(4) The panel shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act.
    ``(e) Before providing funds for the operation of any such center 
at a health-care facility other than a health-care facility designated 
under subsection (b)(1), the Secretary shall assure that the center at 
each facility designated under such subsection is receiving adequate 
funding to enable such center to function effectively in the areas of 
Parkinson's Disease research, education, and clinical activities.
    ``(f) There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be 
necessary for the support of the research and education activities of 
the centers established pursuant to subsection (a). The Under Secretary 
for Health shall allocate to such centers from other funds appropriated 
generally for the Department medical services account and medical and 
prosthetics research account, as appropriate, such amounts as the Under 
Secretary for Health determines appropriate.
    ``(g) Activities of clinical and scientific investigation at each 
center established under subsection (a) shall be eligible to compete 
for the award of funding from funds appropriated for the Department 
medical and prosthetics research account and shall receive priority in 
the award of funding from such account insofar as funds are awarded to 
projects for research in Parkinson's disease and other movement 
disorders.''.
            (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections at the 
        beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the 
        item relating to section 7328 the following new item:

``7329. Parkinson's Disease research, education, and clinical 
                            centers.''.
    (b) Effective Date.--Section 7329 of title 38, United States Code, 
as added by subsection (a), shall take effect on October 1, 2005.

            Passed the House of Representatives July 13, 2005.

            Attest:

                                                 JEFF TRANDAHL,

                                                                 Clerk.

Share This