Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House without amendment (06/10/2014)

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

Veteran Access to Care Act of 2014 - (Sec. 2) Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to enter into contracts with such non-VA facilities as may be necessary to furnish hospital care and medical services to veterans who:

  • have waited longer than the wait-time goals of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) (as of June 1, 2014) for an appointment for hospital care or medical services in a VA facility;
  • have been notified by a VA facility that an appointment for hospital care or medical services is not available within such wait-time goals; or
  • reside more than 40 miles from the VA medical facility, including a community-based outpatient clinic, that is closest to their residence.

Allows eligible veterans who opt for hospital care or medical services in a non-VA facility to receive such care or services through the completion of the episode of care, but for no longer than 60 days.

Directs the Secretary to submit a quarterly report to Congress on the provision of such hospital care and medical services through contracts with non-VA facilities.

Terminates the Secretary's authority to contract with non-VA facilities for the provision of such care and services two years after this Act's enactment.

(Sec. 3) Directs the Secretary, to the extent that appropriations are available to the VHA for medical services, to reimburse non-VA facilities with which the VA does not have such a contract for providing hospital care and medical services to such veterans, if such care and services cannot be provided within the VHA's wait-time goals in a facility with which the VA has a contract. Sets the reimbursement rate for such care or services at the greatest of the VA, Medicare, or TRICARE (a Department of Defense [DOD] managed care program) payment rate for such care or services.

Terminates the Secretary's authority to reimburse non-VA facilities for the provision of such care and services two years after this Act's enactment.

(Sec. 4) Directs the Secretary, within 120 days of this Act's enactment, to enter into a contract or contracts with a private entity or entities with experience in VHA and private delivery systems and in health care management to conduct an independent assessment of the hospital care and medical services furnished in VA facilities.

Lists the factors that must be addressed in assessing veterans access to, and the quality of, hospital care and medical services in VA facilities.

Directs the Secretary to submit reports to the congressional veterans committees regarding: (1) the findings and recommendations of the independent assessment; and (2) the Secretary's response to those findings, including an action plan for fully implementing such recommendations.

(Sec. 5) Prohibits the Secretary from paying awards and bonuses to VA employees for FY2014-FY2016.

(Sec. 6) Requires the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), within 30 days of this Act's enactment, to transmit to Congress:

  • an estimate of the budgetary effects of this Act's coverage of hospital care and medical services for veterans in non-VA facilities;
  • any transfer authority needed to utilize the savings from denying VA awards and bonuses to satisfy such budgetary effects; and
  • a request, if necessary, for additional funding, or the transfer or reprogramming of existing funding, for this Act's coverage of the hospital care and medical services provided to veterans in non-VA facilities.