Text: H.R.2179 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (05/03/2007)


110th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 2179

To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish traumatic brain injury centers.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 3, 2007

Mr. Walz of Minnesota introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs


A BILL

To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish traumatic brain injury centers.

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

SECTION 1. Traumatic brain injury centers.

(a) Establishment.—Subchapter II of chapter 73 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 7320 the following new section:

§ 7320A. Centers for traumatic brain injury research, education, and clinical activities

“(a) Purpose.—The purpose of this section is to provide for the improvement of the provision of health care to eligible veterans with traumatic brain injuries through—

“(1) the conduct of research (including research on improving facilities of the Department concentrating on traumatic brain injury care and on improving the delivery of traumatic brain injury care by the Department);

“(2) the education and training of health care personnel of the Department; and

“(3) the development of improved models and systems for the furnishing of traumatic brain injury care by the Department.

“(b) Establishment of centers.—(1) The Secretary shall establish and operate centers for traumatic brain injury research, education, and clinical activities. Such centers shall be established and operated by collaborating Department facilities as provided in subsection (c)(1). Each such center shall function as a center for—

“(A) research on traumatic brain injury;

“(B) the use by the Department of specific models for furnishing traumatic brain injury care;

“(C) education and training of health-care professionals of the Department; and

“(D) the development and implementation of innovative clinical activities and systems of care with respect to the delivery of traumatic brain injury care by the Department.

“(2) The Secretary shall, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, designate the centers under this section. In making such designations, the Secretary shall ensure that the centers designated are located in various geographic regions of the United States. The Secretary may designate a center under this section only if—

“(A) the proposal submitted for the designation of the center meets the requirements of subsection (c);

“(B) the Secretary makes the finding described in subsection (d); and

“(C) the peer review panel established under subsection (e) makes the determination specified in subsection (e)(3) with respect to that proposal.

“(3) Not more than five centers may be designated under this section.

“(4) The authority of the Secretary to establish and operate centers under this section is subject to the appropriation of funds for that purpose.

“(c) Proposals for designation of centers.—A proposal submitted for the designation of a center under this section shall—

“(1) provide for close collaboration in the establishment and operation of the center, and for the provision of care and the conduct of research and education at the center, by a Department facility or facilities in the same geographic area which have a mission centered on traumatic brain injury care and a Department facility in that area which has a mission of providing tertiary medical care;

“(2) provide that no less than 50 percent of the funds appropriated for the center for support of clinical care, research, and education will be provided to the collaborating facility or facilities that have a mission centered on traumatic brain injury care; and

“(3) provide for a governance arrangement between the collaborating Department facilities which ensures that the center will be established and operated in a manner aimed at improving the quality of traumatic brain injury care at the collaborating facility or facilities which have a mission centered on traumatic brain injury care.

“(d) Finding of Secretary.—The finding referred to in subsection (b)(2)(B) with respect to a proposal for designation of a site as a location of a center under this section is a finding by the Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, that the facilities submitting the proposal have developed (or may reasonably be anticipated to develop) each of the following:

“(1) An arrangement with an accredited medical school that provides education and training in traumatic brain injury care and with which one or more of the participating Department facilities is affiliated under which medical residents receive education and training in traumatic brain injury care through regular rotation through the participating Department facilities so as to provide such residents with training in the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury.

“(2) An arrangement under which nursing, social work, counseling, or allied health personnel receive training and education in traumatic brain injury care through regular rotation through the participating Department facilities.

“(3) The ability to attract scientists who have demonstrated achievement in research—

“(A) into the evaluation of innovative approaches to the design of traumatic brain injury care; or

“(B) into the causes, prevention, and treatment of traumatic brain injury.

“(4) The capability to evaluate effectively the activities of the center, including activities relating to the evaluation of specific efforts to improve the quality and effectiveness of traumatic brain injury care provided by the Department at or through individual facilities.

“(e) Peer review panel.—(1) In order to provide advice to assist the Secretary and the Under Secretary for Health to carry out their responsibilities under this section, the official within the central office of the Veterans Health Administration responsible for traumatic brain injury care shall establish a peer review panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals that are submitted to the Secretary for the designation of centers under this section.

“(2) The panel shall consist of experts in the fields of traumatic brain injury research, education and training, and clinical care. Members of the panel shall serve as consultants to the Department.

“(3) The panel shall review each proposal submitted to the panel by the official referred to in paragraph (1) and shall submit to that official its views on the relative scientific and clinical merit of each such proposal. The panel shall specifically determine with respect to each such proposal whether that proposal is among those proposals which have met the highest competitive standards of scientific and clinical merit.

“(4) The panel shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).

“(f) Award of funding.—Clinical and scientific investigation activities at each center established under this section—

“(1) may compete for the award of funding from amounts appropriated for the Department of Veterans Affairs medical and prosthetics research account; and

“(2) shall receive priority in the award of funding from such account insofar as funds are awarded to projects and activities relating to traumatic brain injury.

“(g) Dissemination of useful information.—The Under Secretary for Health shall ensure that information produced by the research, education and training, and clinical activities of centers established under this section that may be useful for other activities of the Veterans Health Administration is disseminated throughout the Veterans Health Administration. Such dissemination shall be made through publications, through programs of continuing medical and related education provided through regional medical education centers under subchapter VI of chapter 74 of this title, and through other means. Such programs of continuing medical education shall receive priority in the award of funding.

“(h) Supervision of centers.—The official within the central office of the Veterans Health Administration responsible for traumatic brain injury care shall be responsible for supervising the operation of the centers established pursuant to this section and shall provide for ongoing evaluation of the centers and their compliance with the requirements of this section.

“(i) Authorization of appropriations.—(1) There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the basic support of the research and education and training activities of centers established pursuant to this section such sums as may be necessary.

“(2) In addition to funds appropriated for a fiscal year pursuant to the authorization of appropriations in paragraph (1), the Under Secretary for Health shall allocate to such centers from other funds appropriated for that fiscal year generally for the Department of Veterans Affairs medical services account and the Department of Veterans Affairs medical and prosthetics research account such amounts as the Under Secretary for Health determines appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section.

“(j) Annual reports.—Not later than February 1 of each year the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report on the status and activities of the centers for traumatic brain injury research, education, and clinical activities during the preceding fiscal year. Each such report shall include the following:

“(1) A description of the activities carried out at each center and the funding provided by the Department for such activities.

“(2) A description of the advances made at each of the participating facilities of the center in research, education and training, and clinical activities relating to traumatic brain injury care and treatment.

“(3) A description of the actions taken by the Under Secretary for Health pursuant to subsection (g) to disseminate information derived from such activities throughout the Veterans Health Administration.

“(4) The evaluation of the Secretary as to the effectiveness of the centers in fulfilling the purposes of this section.”.

(b) Clerical amendment.—The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 7320 the following new item:


“7320A. Centers for traumatic brain injury research, education, and clinical activities.”.