Text: H.R.3645 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (09/24/2007)


110th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 3645


To implement recommendations of the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 24, 2007

Mr. Space (for himself, Ms. Sutton, Ms. Matsui, and Mr. Rodriguez) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services, and in addition to the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs, Education and Labor, House Administration, and Oversight and Government Reform, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To implement recommendations of the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors.

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 the “Healthier Heroes Act”.

SEC. 2. Clarification of objectives for and coordination between DoD and VA programs.

(a) Single, comprehensive, standardized medical examination.—The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall develop a single, comprehensive, standardized medical examination for members of the Armed Forces that, while administered by the Department of Defense, will be—

(1) used by medical evaluation boards and physical evaluation boards of the Department of Defense to determine the fitness of a member of the Armed Forces to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank, or rating; and

(2) used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish the disability rating, compensation, and benefits programs for the member if the member is retired or separated because of physical disability.

(b) DOD role limited to determining fitness To serve.—Section 1216 of title 10, United States Code, is amended—

(1) in subsection (b)—

(A) by striking paragraph (2); and

(B) by redesignating paragraphs (3) and (4) as paragraphs (2) and (3), respectively; and

(2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(e) The determination under this chapter of the percentage of disability of a member of the armed forces at the time of the member’s separation from active duty shall be made by the Department of Veterans Affairs.”.

(c) Sense of congress.—It is the sense of Congress that the use of a single, comprehensive, standardized medical examination by both the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs and the clear differentiation of the roles of the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs disability programs will eliminate duplicative processes as well as reduce inequities for members of the Armed Forces.

SEC. 3. Availability of post-traumatic stress disorder care.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall provide appropriate medical care to any veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom who needs medical care for post-traumatic stress disorder regardless of the length of time the veteran has been separated from active duty service in the armed forces.

SEC. 4. Extended benefits under TRICARE for primary caregivers of members of the uniformed services who incur a serious injury or illness on active duty.

(a) In General.—Section 1079(d) of title 10, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by redesignating paragraphs (2) and (3) as paragraphs (3) and (4), respectively; and

(2) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following new paragraph (2):

“(2)(A) Subject to such terms, conditions, and exceptions as the Secretary of Defense considers appropriate, the program of extended benefits for eligible dependents under this subsection shall include extended benefits for the primary caregivers of members of the uniformed services who incur a serious injury or illness on active duty.

“(B) The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe in regulations the individuals who shall be treated as the primary caregivers of a member of the uniformed services for purposes of this paragraph.

“(C) For purposes of this section, a serious injury or illness, with respect to a member of the uniformed services, is an injury or illness that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank, or rating and that renders a member of the uniformed services dependant upon a caregiver.”.

(b) Effective Date.—The amendments made by subsection (a) shall take 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 5. Family Medical Leave Act.

(a) Servicemember family leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.—

(1) DEFINITIONS.—Section 101 of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (29 U.S.C. 2611) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(14) ACTIVE DUTY.—The term ‘active duty’ means duty under a call or order to active duty under a provision of law referred to in section 101(a)(13)(B) of title 10, United States Code.

“(15) COVERED SERVICEMEMBER.—The term ‘covered servicemember’ means a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or a Reserve, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in medical hold or medical holdover status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness.

“(16) MEDICAL HOLD OR MEDICAL HOLDOVER STATUS.—The term ‘medical hold or medical holdover status’ means—

“(A) the status of a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or a Reserve, assigned or attached to a military hospital for medical care; and

“(B) the status of a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces who is separated, whether pre-deployment or post-deployment, from the member’s unit while in need of health care based on a medical condition identified while the member is on active duty in the Armed Forces.

“(17) NEXT OF KIN.—The term ‘next of kin’, used with respect to an individual, means the nearest blood relative of that individual.

“(18) SERIOUS INJURY OR ILLNESS.—The term ‘serious injury or illness’, in the case of a member of the Armed Forces, means an injury or illness incurred by the member in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces that results in a serious physical disability, as defined in section 199.2 of title 32, Code of Federal Regulations, or that renders the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank, or rating.”.

(2) ENTITLEMENT TO LEAVE.—Section 102(a) of such Act (29 U.S.C. 2612(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(3) SERVICEMEMBER FAMILY LEAVE.—Subject to section 103, an eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered servicemember shall be entitled to a total of 26 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period to care for the servicemember. The leave described in this paragraph shall only be available during a single 12-month period.

“(4) COMBINED LEAVE TOTAL.—During the single 12-month period described in paragraph (3), an eligible employee shall be entitled to a combined total of 26 workweeks of leave under paragraphs (1) and (3). Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit the availability of leave under paragraph (1) during any other 12-month period.”.

(3) REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO LEAVE.—

(A) SCHEDULE.—Section 102(b) of such Act (29 U.S.C. 2612(b)) is amended—

(i) in paragraph (1), in the second sentence—

(I) by striking “section 103(b)(5)” and inserting “subsection (b)(5) or (f) (as appropriate) of section 103”; and

(II) by inserting “or under subsection (a)(3)” after “subsection (a)(1)”; and

(ii) in paragraph (2), by inserting “or under subsection (a)(3)” after “subsection (a)(1)”.

(B) SUBSTITUTION OF PAID LEAVE.—Section 102(d) of such Act (29 U.S.C. 2612(d)) is amended—

(i) in paragraph (1)—

(I) by inserting “(or 26 workweeks in the case of leave provided under subsection (a)(3))” after “12 workweeks” the first place it appears; and

(II) by inserting “(or 26 workweeks, as appropriate)” after “12 workweeks” the second place it appears; and

(ii) in paragraph (2)(B), by adding at the end the following: “An eligible employee may elect, or an employer may require the employee, to substitute any of the accrued paid vacation leave, personal leave, family leave, or medical or sick leave of the employee for leave provided under subsection (a)(3) for any part of the 26-week period of such leave under such subsection.”.

(C) NOTICE.—Section 102(e)(2) of such Act (29 U.S.C. 2612(e)(2)) is amended by inserting “or under subsection (a)(3)” after “subsection (a)(1)”.

(D) SPOUSES EMPLOYED BY SAME EMPLOYER.—Section 102(f) of such Act (29 U.S.C. 2612(f)) is amended—

(i) by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as subparagraphs (A) and (B), and aligning the margins of the subparagraphs with the margins of section 102(e)(2)(A);

(ii) by striking “In any” and inserting the following:

“(1) IN GENERAL.—In any”; and

(iii) by adding at the end the following:

“(2) SERVICEMEMBER FAMILY LEAVE.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The aggregate number of workweeks of leave to which both that husband and wife may be entitled under subsection (a) may be limited to 26 workweeks during the single 12-month period described in subsection (a)(3) if the leave is—

“(i) leave under subsection (a)(3); or

“(ii) a combination of leave under subsection (a)(3) and leave described in paragraph (1).

“(B) BOTH LIMITATIONS APPLICABLE.—If the leave taken by the husband and wife includes leave described in paragraph (1), the limitation in paragraph (1) shall apply to the leave described in paragraph (1).”.

(4) CERTIFICATION.—Section 103 of such Act (29 U.S.C. 2613) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(f) Certification for Servicemember Family Leave.—An employer may require that a request for leave under section 102(a)(3) be supported by a certification issued at such time and in such manner as the Secretary may by regulation prescribe.”.

(5) FAILURE TO RETURN.—Section 104(c) of such Act (29 U.S.C. 2614(c)) is amended—

(A) in paragraph (2)(B)(i), by inserting “or under section 102(a)(3)” before the semicolon; and

(B) in paragraph (3)(A)—

(i) in clause (i), by striking “or” at the end;

(ii) in clause (ii), by striking the period and inserting “; or”; and

(iii) by adding at the end the following:

“(iii) a certification issued by the health care provider of the servicemember being cared for by the employee, in the case of an employee unable to return to work because of a condition specified in section 102(a)(3).”.

(6) ENFORCEMENT.—Section 107 of such Act (29 U.S.C. 2617) is amended, in subsection (a)(1)(A)(i)(II), by inserting “(or 26 weeks, in a case involving leave under section 102(a)(3))” after “12 weeks”.

(7) INSTRUCTIONAL EMPLOYEES.—Section 108 of such Act (29 U.S.C. 2618) is amended, in subsections (c)(1), (d)(2), and (d)(3), by inserting “or under section 102(a)(3)” after “section 102(a)(1)”.

(b) Servicemember family leave for civil service employees.—

(1) DEFINITIONS.—Section 6381 of title 5, United States Code, is amended—

(A) in paragraph (5), by striking “and” at the end;

(B) in paragraph (6), by striking the period and inserting “; and”; and

(C) by adding at the end the following:

“(7) the term ‘active duty’ means duty under a call or order to active duty under a provision of law referred to in section 101(a)(13)(B) of title 10, United States Code;

“(8) the term ‘covered servicemember’ means a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or a Reserve, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in medical hold or medical holdover status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness;

“(9) the term ‘medical hold or medical holdover status’ means—

“(A) the status of a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or a Reserve, assigned or attached to a military hospital for medical care; and

“(B) the status of a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces who is separated, whether pre-deployment or post-deployment, from the member’s unit while in need of health care based on a medical condition identified while the member is on active duty in the Armed Forces;

“(10) the term ‘next of kin’, used with respect to an individual, means the nearest blood relative of that individual; and

“(11) the term ‘serious injury or illness’, in the case of a member of the Armed Forces, means an injury or illness incurred by the member in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces that results in a serious physical disability, as defined in section 199.2 of title 32, Code of Federal Regulations, or that renders the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank, or rating.”.

(2) ENTITLEMENT TO LEAVE.—Section 6382(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(3) Subject to section 6383, an employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered servicemember shall be entitled to a total of 26 administrative workweeks of leave during a 12-month period to care for the servicemember. The leave described in this paragraph shall only be available during a single 12-month period.

“(4) During the single 12-month period described in paragraph (3), an employee shall be entitled to a combined total of 26 administrative workweeks of leave under paragraphs (1) and (3). Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit the availability of leave under paragraph (1) during any other 12-month period.”.

(3) REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO LEAVE.—

(A) SCHEDULE.—Section 6382(b) of such title is amended—

(i) in paragraph (1), in the second sentence—

(I) by striking “section 6383(b)(5)” and inserting “subsection (b)(5) or (f) (as appropriate) of section 6383”; and

(II) by inserting “or under subsection (a)(3)” after “subsection (a)(1)”; and

(ii) in paragraph (2), by inserting “or under subsection (a)(3)” after “subsection (a)(1)”.

(B) SUBSTITUTION OF PAID LEAVE.—Section 6382(d) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following: “An employee may elect to substitute for leave under subsection (a)(3) any of the employee’s accrued or accumulated annual or sick leave under subchapter I for any part of the 26-week period of leave under such subsection.”.

(C) NOTICE.—Section 6382(e) of such title is amended by inserting “or under subsection (a)(3)” after “subsection (a)(1)”.

(4) CERTIFICATION.—Section 6383 of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:

“(f) An employing agency may require that a request for leave under section 6382(a)(3) be supported by a certification issued at such time and in such manner as the Office of Personnel Management may by regulation prescribe.”.