Text: H.R.6445 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

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Referred in Senate (07/31/2008)

 
[Congressional Bills 110th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 6445 Referred in Senate (RFS)]

  2d Session
                                H. R. 6445


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             July 31, 2008

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

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
  To amend title 38, United States Code, to prohibit the Secretary of 
 Veterans Affairs from collecting certain copayments from veterans who 
         are catastrophically disabled, 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 the ``Veterans' Health Care Policy 
Enhancement Act of 2008''.

SEC. 2. PROHIBITION ON COLLECTION OF CERTAIN COPAYMENTS FROM VETERANS 
              WHO ARE CATASTROPHICALLY DISABLED.

    (a) Prohibition on Collection of Copayments and Other Fees for 
Hospital or Nursing Home Care.--Section 1710 of title 38, United States 
Code, is amended--
            (1) by redesignating subsection (h) as subsection (i); and
            (2) by inserting after subsection (g) the following new 
        subsection (h):
    ``(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a 
veteran who is catastrophically disabled shall not be required to make 
any payment otherwise required under subsection (f) or (g) for the 
receipt of hospital care or nursing home care under this section.''.
    (b) Effective Date.--Subsection (h) of section 1710 of title 38, 
United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall apply with 
respect to hospital care or nursing home care provided after the date 
of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 3. EXPANSION OF AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS TO 
              PROVIDE COUNSELING FOR FAMILY MEMBERS OF VETERANS 
              RECEIVING NONSERVICE-CONNECTED TREATMENT.

    Section 1782(b) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by 
striking ``if--'' and all that follows and inserting a period.

SEC. 4. COMPREHENSIVE POLICY ON PAIN MANAGEMENT.

    (a) Comprehensive Policy Required.--Not later than October 1, 2008, 
the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall develop and implement a 
comprehensive policy on the management of pain experienced by veterans 
enrolled for health care services provided by the Department of 
Veterans Affairs.
    (b) Scope of Policy.--The policy required by subsection (a) shall 
cover each of the following:
            (1) The systemwide management of acute and chronic pain 
        experienced by veterans.
            (2) The standard of care for pain management to be used 
        throughout the Department.
            (3) The consistent application of pain assessments to be 
        used throughout the Department.
            (4) The assurance of prompt and appropriate pain care 
        treatment and management by the Department, systemwide, when 
        medically necessary.
            (5) The Department's program of research related to acute 
        and chronic pain suffered by veterans, including pain 
        attributable to central and peripheral nervous system damage 
        characteristic of injuries incurred in modern warfare.
            (6) The Department's program of pain care education and 
        training for health care personnel of the Department.
            (7) The Department's program of patient education for 
        veterans suffering from acute or chronic pain and their 
        families.
    (c) Updates.--The Secretary shall revise the policy developed under 
subsection (a) on a periodic basis in accordance with experience and 
evolving best practice guidelines.
    (d) Consultation.--The Secretary shall develop the policy developed 
under subsection (a), and revise such policy under subsection (c), in 
consultation with veterans service organizations and organizations with 
expertise in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and management of 
pain.
    (e) Annual Report.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
        the completion and initial implementation of the policy under 
        subsection (a) and on October 1 of every fiscal year thereafter 
        through fiscal year 2018, the Secretary shall submit to the 
        Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee 
        on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report 
        on the implementation of the policy developed under subsection 
        (a).
            (2) Contents.--The report required by paragraph (1) shall 
        include the following:
                    (A) A description of the policy developed and 
                implemented under subsection (a) and any revisions to 
                such policy under subsection (c).
                    (B) A description of the performance measures used 
                to determine the effectiveness of such policy in 
                improving pain care for veterans systemwide.
                    (C) An assessment of the adequacy of the 
                Department's pain management services based on a survey 
                of patients managed in Department clinics.
                    (D) An assessment of the Department's research 
                programs relevant to the treatment of the types of 
                acute and chronic pain suffered by veterans.
                    (E) An assessment of the training provided to 
                Department health care personnel with respect to the 
                diagnosis, treatment, and management of acute and 
                chronic pain.
                    (F) An assessment of the Department's pain care-
                related patient education programs.
    (f) Veterans Service Organization Defined.--In this section, the 
term ``veterans service organization'' means any organization 
recognized by the Secretary for the representation of veterans under 
section 5902 of title 38, United States Code.

SEC. 5. ESTABLISHMENT OF CONSOLIDATED PATIENT ACCOUNTING CENTERS.

    (a) Establishment of Centers.--Chapter 17 of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1729A the following:
``Sec. 1729B. Consolidated patient accounting centers
    ``(a) In General.--Not later than 5 years after the date of 
enactment of this section, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
establish not more than seven consolidated patient accounting centers 
for conducting industry-modeled regionalized billing and collection 
activities of the Department.
    ``(b) Functions.--The centers shall carry out the following 
functions:
            ``(1) Reengineer and integrate all business processes of 
        the revenue cycle of the Department.
            ``(2) Standardize and coordinate all activities of the 
        Department related to the revenue cycle for all health care 
        services furnished to veterans for nonservice-connected medical 
        conditions.
            ``(3) Apply commercial industry standards for measures of 
        access, timeliness, and performance metrics with respect to 
        revenue enhancement of the Department.
            ``(4) Apply other requirements with respect to such revenue 
        cycle improvement as the Secretary may specify.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 
1729A the following:

``1729B. Consolidated patient accounting centers.''.

SEC. 6. SIMPLIFYING AND UPDATING NATIONAL STANDARDS TO ENCOURAGE 
              TESTING OF THE HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS.

    Section 124 of the Veterans' Benefits and Services Act of 1988 (38 
U.S.C. 7333 note; 102 Stat. 505) and


              

the item relating to such section in the table of contents of such Act 
(102 Stat. 487) are repealed.

            Passed the House of Representatives July 30, 2008.

            Attest:

                                            LORRAINE C. MILLER,

                                                                 Clerk.