Text: H.R.2510 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/26/2013)


113th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 2510


To direct the Secretary of Defense to establish within the Department of Defense centers of excellence in the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions relating to exposure to open burn pits.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 26, 2013

Mr. Bishop of New York (for himself, Mr. Jones, Ms. DeGette, and Mr. Cooper) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services


A BILL

To direct the Secretary of Defense to establish within the Department of Defense centers of excellence in the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions relating to exposure to open burn pits.

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 “Helping Veterans Exposed to Toxic Chemicals Act”.

SEC. 2. Centers of excellence in prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions relating to exposure to open burn pits and other exposure to open burn pits and other environmental exposures.

(a) Establishment.—The Secretary of Defense shall establish within the Department of Defense three centers of excellence in the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions relating to exposure to open burn pits and other environmental exposures to carry out the responsibilities specified in subsection (c). Such centers shall be established using—

(1) the directives, policies, and Comptroller General and Inspector General recommendations in effect as of the date of the enactment of this Act; and

(2) guidance issued pursuant to section 313 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (Public Law 112–239; 126 Stat. 1692; 10 U.S.C. 1074 note).

(b) Selection of sites.—In selecting sites for the centers of excellence under subsection (a), the Secretary of Defense shall select entities that—

(1) are equipped with the specialized equipment needed to study, diagnose, and treat health conditions relating to exposure to open burn pits and other environmental exposures;

(2) have a publication track record of post-deployment health exposures among veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan;

(3) have collaborated with a geosciences department that has a medical geology division;

(4) have developed animal models and in vitro models of dust immunology and lung injury from Iraq and Afghanistan; and

(5) have expertise in allergy and immunology, pulmonary diseases, and industrial and management engineering.

(c) Partnerships.—The Secretary shall ensure that the centers collaborate to the maximum extent practicable with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, institutions of higher education, and other appropriate public and private entities (including international entities) to carry out the responsibilities specified in subsection (d).

(d) Responsibilities.—The center shall have responsibilities as follows:

(1) To implement the comprehensive plan and strategy for the Department of Defense for the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of health conditions relating to exposure to open burn pits and other environmental exposures.

(2) To provide for the development, testing, and dissemination within the Department of best practices for the treatment of health conditions relating to exposure to open burn pits and other environmental exposures.

(3) To provide guidance for the health system of the Department in determining the personnel required to provide quality health care for members of the Armed Forces with health conditions relating to exposure to open burn pits and other environmental exposures.

(4) To establish, implement, and oversee a comprehensive program to train health professionals of the Department in the treatment of health conditions relating to exposure to open burn pits and other environmental exposures.

(5) To facilitate advancements in the study of the short-term and long-term effects of exposure to open burn pits and other environmental exposures.

(6) To disseminate within the military medical treatment facilities of the Department best practices for training health professionals with respect to health conditions relating to exposure to open burn pits and other environmental exposures.

(7) To conduct basic science and translational research on health conditions relating to exposure to open burn pits and other environmental exposures for the purposes of understanding the etiology of such conditions and developing preventive interventions and new treatments.

(8) To provide medical treatment to all veterans identified as part of the burn pits registry established under section 201 of the Dignified Burial and Other Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2012 (Public Law 112–260; 38 U.S.C. 527 note).

(e) Use of burn pits registry data.—In carrying out its responsibilities under subsection (c), the center shall have access to and make use of the data accumulated by the burn pits registry established under section 201 of the Dignified Burial and Other Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2012 (Public Law 112–260; 38 U.S.C. 527 note).

(f) Definitions.—In this section:

(1) The term “open burn pit” means an area of land located in Afghanistan or Iraq that—

(A) is designated by the Secretary of Defense to be used for disposing solid waste by burning in the outdoor air; and

(B) does not contain a commercially manufactured incinerator or other equipment specifically designed and manufactured for the burning of solid waste.

(2) The term “other environmental exposures” means exposure to environmental hazards, including burn pits, dust or sand, hazardous materials, and waste at any site in Afghanistan or Iraq that emits smoke containing pollutants present in the environment or smoke from fires or explosions.

(g) Authorization of appropriations.—There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $30,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2019.