Text: H.R.203 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 114-2 (02/12/2015)

 
[114th Congress Public Law 2]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]



[[Page 29]]

         CLAY HUNT SUICIDE PREVENTION FOR AMERICAN VETERANS ACT

[[Page 129 STAT. 30]]

Public Law 114-2
114th Congress

                                 An Act


 
 To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide for the conduct 
   of annual evaluations of mental health care and suicide prevention 
   programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to require a pilot 
 program on loan repayment for psychiatrists who agree to serve in the 
 Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 
     and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Feb. 12, 2015 -  [H.R. 203]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Clay Hunt 
Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. 38 USC 101 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for 
American Veterans Act'' or the ``Clay Hunt SAV Act''.
SEC. 2. EVALUATIONS OF MENTAL HEALTH CARE AND SUICIDE PREVENTION 
                    PROGRAMS OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) Evaluations.--
            (1) In general.--Subchapter I of chapter 17 of title 38, 
        United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the 
        following new section:
``Sec. 1709B. <<NOTE: 38 USC 1709B.>>  Evaluations of mental 
                    health care and suicide prevention programs

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Evaluations.--(1) Not less frequently 
than once during each period specified in paragraph (3), the Secretary 
shall provide for the conduct of an evaluation of the mental health care 
and suicide prevention programs carried out under the laws administered 
by the Secretary.

    ``(2) Each evaluation conducted under paragraph (1) shall--
            ``(A) use metrics that are common among and useful for 
        practitioners in the field of mental health care and suicide 
        prevention;
            ``(B) identify the most effective mental health care and 
        suicide prevention programs conducted by the Secretary, 
        including such programs conducted at a Center of Excellence;
            ``(C) identify the cost-effectiveness of each program 
        identified under subparagraph (B);
            ``(D) measure the satisfaction of patients with respect to 
        the care provided under each such program; and
            ``(E) propose best practices for caring for individuals who 
        suffer from mental health disorders or are at risk of suicide, 
        including such practices conducted or suggested by other 
        departments or agencies of the Federal Government, including the 
        Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the 
        Department of Health and Human Services.

[[Page 129 STAT. 31]]

    ``(3) <<NOTE: Time periods.>>  The periods specified in this 
paragraph are the following:
            ``(A) The period beginning on the date on which the 
        Secretary awards the contract under paragraph (4) and ending on 
        September 30, 2018.
            ``(B) <<NOTE: Effective date.>>  Each fiscal year beginning 
        on or after October 1, 2018.

    ``(4) <<NOTE: Deadline. Contracts.>>  Not later than 180 days after 
the date of the enactment of this section, the Secretary shall seek to 
enter into a contract with an independent third party unaffiliated with 
the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct evaluations under 
paragraph (1).

    ``(5) The independent third party that is awarded the contract under 
paragraph (4) shall submit to the Secretary each evaluation conducted 
under paragraph (1).
    ``(b) <<NOTE: Deadline. Reports.>>  Annual Submission.--Not later 
than December 1, 2018, and each year thereafter, 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 
that contains the following:
            ``(1) The most recent evaluations submitted to the Secretary 
        under subsection (a)(5) that the Secretary has not previously 
        submitted to such Committees.
            ``(2) Any recommendations the Secretary considers 
        appropriate.''.
            (2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections at the 
        beginning of such chapter <<NOTE: 38 USC prec. 1701.>>  is 
        amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1709A 
        the following new item:

``1709B. Evaluations of mental health care and suicide prevention 
           programs.''.

    (b) <<NOTE: Coordination.>>  Interim Reports.--Not later than 
September 30 of each of 2016 and 2017, the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs, in coordination with the independent third party awarded a 
contract by the Secretary pursuant to section 1709B(a)(4) of title 38, 
United States Code, as added by subsection (a)(1), 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 mental 
health care and suicide prevention programs carried out under the laws 
administered by the Secretary that includes, with respect to each such 
program, the following:
            (1) A description of the program.
            (2) The number of veterans served by the program.
            (3) The budget of the program.
            (4) The number of full-time equivalent employees assigned to 
        the program.
            (5) Whether veterans may repeat participation in the program 
        or participate in the program in addition to other similar 
        programs.
            (6) Any study results or research published regarding the 
        efficacy of the program.
            (7) Any other information the Secretary determines 
        appropriate.
SEC. 3. <<NOTE: 38 USC 1712A note.>>  PUBLICATION OF INTERNET 
                    WEBSITE TO PROVIDE INFORMATION REGARDING 
                    MENTAL HEALTH CARE SERVICES.

    (a) <<NOTE: Survey.>>  In General.--Using funds made available to 
the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to publish the Internet websites of 
the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Secretary shall survey the 
existing Internet websites and information resources of the Department

[[Page 129 STAT. 32]]

to publish an Internet website that serves as a centralized source to 
provide veterans with information regarding all of the mental health 
care services provided by the Secretary.

    (b) Elements.--The Internet website published under subsection (a) 
shall provide to veterans information regarding all of the mental health 
care services available in the Veteran Integrated Service Network that 
the veteran is seeking such services, including, with respect to each 
medical center, Vet Center (as defined in section 1712A of title 38, 
United States Code), and community-based outpatient center in the 
Veterans Integrated Service Network--
            (1) the name and contact information of each social work 
        office;
            (2) the name and contact information of each mental health 
        clinic;
            (3) a list of appropriate staff; and
            (4) any other information the Secretary determines 
        appropriate.

    (c) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Updated Information.--The Secretary shall 
ensure that the information described in subsection (b) that is 
published on the Internet website under subsection (a) is updated not 
less than once every 90 days.

    (d) Outreach.--In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall 
ensure that the outreach conducted under section 1720F(i) of title 38, 
United States Code, includes information regarding the Internet website 
published under subsection (a).
SEC. 4. <<NOTE: 38 USC 7681 note.>>  PILOT PROGRAM FOR REPAYMENT 
                    OF EDUCATIONAL LOANS FOR CERTAIN PSYCHIATRISTS 
                    OF VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION.

    (a) Establishment.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall carry 
out a pilot program to repay loans of individuals described in 
subsection (b) that--
            (1) were used by such individuals to finance education 
        relating to psychiatric medicine, including education leading 
        to--
                    (A) a degree of doctor of medicine; or
                    (B) a degree of doctor of osteopathy; and
            (2) were obtained from any of the following:
                    (A) A governmental entity.
                    (B) A private financial institution.
                    (C) A school.
                    (D) Any other authorized entity as determined by the 
                Secretary.

    (b) Eligible Individuals.--
            (1) In general.--Subject to paragraph (2), an individual 
        eligible for participation in the pilot program is an individual 
        who--
                    (A) either--
                          (i) is licensed or eligible for licensure to 
                      practice psychiatric medicine in the Veterans 
                      Health Administration of the Department of 
                      Veterans Affairs; or
                          (ii) is enrolled in the final year of a 
                      residency program leading to a specialty 
                      qualification in psychiatric medicine that is 
                      approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate 
                      Medical Education; and

[[Page 129 STAT. 33]]

                    (B) demonstrates a commitment to a long-term career 
                as a psychiatrist in the Veterans Health Administration, 
                as determined by the Secretary.
            (2) Prohibition on simultaneous eligibility.--An individual 
        who is participating in any other program of the Federal 
        Government that repays the educational loans of the individual 
        is not eligible to participate in the pilot program.

    (c) Selection.--The Secretary shall select not less than 10 
individuals described in subsection (b) to participate in the pilot 
program for each year in which the Secretary carries out the pilot 
program.
    (d) <<NOTE: Contracts.>>  Period of Obligated Service.--The 
Secretary shall enter into an agreement with each individual selected 
under subsection (c) in which such individual agrees to serve a period 
of 2 or more years of obligated service for the Veterans Health 
Administration in the field of psychiatric medicine, as determined by 
the Secretary.

    (e) Loan Repayments.--
            (1) Amounts.--Subject to paragraph (2), a loan repayment 
        under this section may consist of payment of the principal, 
        interest, and related expenses of a loan obtained by an 
        individual who is participating in the pilot program for all 
        educational expenses (including tuition, fees, books, and 
        laboratory expenses) of such individual relating to education 
        described in subsection (a)(1).
            (2) Limit.--For each year of obligated service that an 
        individual who is participating in the pilot program agrees to 
        serve under subsection (d), the Secretary may pay not more than 
        $30,000 in loan repayment on behalf of such individual.

    (f) Breach.--
            (1) Liability.--An individual who participates in the pilot 
        program and fails to satisfy the period of obligated service 
        under subsection (d) shall be liable to the United States, in 
        lieu of such obligated service, for the amount that has been 
        paid or is payable to or on behalf of the individual under the 
        pilot program, reduced by the proportion that the number of days 
        served for completion of the period of obligated service bears 
        to the total number of days in the period of obligated service 
        of such individual.
            (2) Repayment period.--Any amount of damages that the United 
        States is entitled to recover under this subsection shall be 
        paid to the United States not later than 1 year after the date 
        of the breach of the agreement.

    (g) Report.--
            (1) Initial report.--Not later than 2 years after the date 
        on which the pilot program under subsection (a) commences, 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 pilot program.
            (2) Elements.--The report required by paragraph (1) shall 
        include the following:
                    (A) The number of individuals who participated in 
                the pilot program, including the number of new hires.
                    (B) The locations in which such individuals were 
                employed by the Department, including how many such 
                locations were rural or urban locations.

[[Page 129 STAT. 34]]

                    (C) <<NOTE: Assessment.>>  An assessment of the 
                quality of the work performed by such individuals in the 
                course of such employment, including the performance 
                reviews of such individuals.
                    (D) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  The number of 
                psychiatrists the Secretary determines is needed by the 
                Department in the future.
            (3) Final report.--Not later than 90 days before the date on 
        which the pilot program terminates under subsection (i), the 
        Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of 
        the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House 
        of Representatives an update to the report submitted under 
        paragraph (1) and any recommendations that the Secretary 
        considers appropriate.

    (h) Regulations.--The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry 
out this section, including standards for qualified loans and authorized 
payees and other terms and conditions for the making of loan repayments.
    (i) Termination.--The authority to carry out the pilot program shall 
expire on the date that is 3 years after the date on which the Secretary 
commences the pilot program.
SEC. 5. <<NOTE: 38 USC 1712A note.>>  PILOT PROGRAM ON COMMUNITY 
                    OUTREACH.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish a 
pilot program to assist veterans transitioning from serving on active 
duty and to improve the access of veterans to mental health services.
    (b) Locations.--The Secretary shall carry out the pilot program 
under subsection (a) at not less than five Veterans Integrated Service 
Networks that have a large population of veterans who--
            (1) served in the reserve components of the Armed Forces; or
            (2) are transitioning into communities with an established 
        population of veterans after having recently separated from the 
        Armed Forces.

    (c) Functions.--The pilot program at each Veterans Integrated 
Service Network described in subsection (b) shall include the following:
            (1) A community oriented veteran peer support network, 
        carried out in partnership with an appropriate entity with 
        experience in peer support programs, that--
                    (A) establishes peer support training guidelines;
                    (B) develops a network of veteran peer support 
                counselors to meet the demands of the communities in the 
                Veterans Integrated Service Network;
                    (C) conducts training of veteran peer support 
                counselors;
                    (D) with respect to one medical center selected by 
                the Secretary in each such Veterans Integrated Service 
                Network, has--
                          (i) a designated peer support specialist who 
                      acts as a liaison to the community oriented 
                      veteran peer network; and
                          (ii) a certified mental health professional 
                      designated as the community oriented veteran peer 
                      network mentor; and
                    (E) is readily available to veterans, including 
                pursuant to the Veterans Integrated Service Network 
                cooperating

[[Page 129 STAT. 35]]

                and working with State and local governments and 
                appropriate entities.
            (2) A community outreach team for each medical center 
        selected by the Secretary pursuant to paragraph (1)(D) that--
                    (A) assists veterans transitioning into communities;
                    (B) establishes a veteran transition advisory group 
                to facilitate outreach activities;
                    (C) includes the participation of appropriate 
                community organizations, State and local governments, 
                colleges and universities, chambers of commerce and 
                other local business organizations, and organizations 
                that provide legal aid or advice; and
                    (D) coordinates with the Veterans Integrated Service 
                Network regarding the Veterans Integrated Service 
                Network carrying out an annual mental health summit to 
                assess the status of veteran mental health care in the 
                community and to develop new or innovative means to 
                provide mental health services to veterans.

    (d) Reports.--
            (1) Initial report.--Not later than 18 months after the date 
        on which the pilot program under subsection (a) commences, 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 pilot program. With respect 
        to each Veterans Integrated Service Network described in 
        subsection (b), the report shall include--
                    (A) a full description of the peer support model 
                implemented under the pilot program, participation data, 
                and data pertaining to past and current mental health 
                related hospitalizations and fatalities;
                    (B) <<NOTE: Recommenda- tions.>>  recommendations on 
                implementing peer support networks throughout the 
                Department;
                    (C) whether the mental health resources made 
                available under the pilot program for members of the 
                reserve components of the Armed Forces is effective; and
                    (D) a full description of the activities and 
                effectiveness of community outreach coordinating teams 
                under the pilot program, including partnerships that 
                have been established with appropriate entities.
            (2) Final report.--Not later than 90 days before the date on 
        which the pilot program terminates under subsection (e), the 
        Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of 
        the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House 
        of Representatives an update to the report submitted under 
        paragraph (1).

    (e) Construction.--This section may not be construed to authorize 
the Secretary to hire additional employees of the Department to carry 
out the pilot program under subsection (a).
    (f) Termination.--The authority of the Secretary to carry out the 
pilot program under subsection (a) shall terminate on the date that is 3 
years after the date on which the pilot program commences.

[[Page 129 STAT. 36]]

SEC. 6. <<NOTE: 38 USC 1720F note.>>  COLLABORATION ON SUICIDE 
                    PREVENTION EFFORTS BETWEEN DEPARTMENT OF 
                    VETERANS AFFAIRS AND NON-PROFIT MENTAL HEALTH 
                    ORGANIZATIONS.

    (a) Collaboration.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may 
collaborate with non-profit mental health organizations to prevent 
suicide among veterans as follows:
            (1) To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of suicide 
        prevention efforts carried out by the Secretary and non-profit 
        mental health organizations.
            (2) To assist non-profit mental health organizations with 
        the suicide prevention efforts of such organizations through the 
        use of the expertise of employees of the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs.
            (3) To jointly carry out suicide prevention efforts.

    (b) Exchange of Resources.--In carrying out any collaboration under 
subsection (a), the Secretary and any non-profit mental health 
organization with which the Secretary is collaborating under such 
subsection shall exchange training sessions and best practices to help 
with the suicide prevention efforts of the Department and such 
organization.
    (c) Director of Suicide Prevention Coordination.--The Secretary 
shall select within the Department a Director of Suicide Prevention 
Coordination to undertake any collaboration with non-profit mental 
health organizations under this section or any other provision of law.
SEC. 7. ADDITIONAL PERIOD OF ELIGIBILITY FOR HEALTH CARE FOR 
                    CERTAIN VETERANS OF COMBAT SERVICE DURING 
                    CERTAIN PERIODS OF HOSTILITIES AND WAR.

    Paragraph (3) of section 1710(e) of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended to read as follows:
    ``(3) In the case of care for a veteran described in paragraph 
(1)(D), hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care may be 
provided under or by virtue of subsection (a)(2)(F) only during the 
following periods:
            ``(A) Except as provided by subparagraph (B), with respect 
        to a veteran described in paragraph (1)(D) who is discharged or 
        released from the active military, naval, or air service after 
        January 27, 2003, the five-year period beginning on the date of 
        such discharge or release.
            ``(B) <<NOTE: Effective date.>>  With respect to a veteran 
        described in paragraph (1)(D) who is discharged or released from 
        the active military, naval, or air service after January 1, 
        2009, and before January 1, 2011, but did not enroll to receive 
        such hospital care, medical services, or nursing home care 
        pursuant to such paragraph during the five-year period described 
        in subparagraph (A), the one-year period beginning on the date 
        of the enactment of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for 
        American Veterans Act.
            ``(C) With respect to a veteran described in paragraph 
        (1)(D) who is discharged or released from the active military, 
        naval, or air service on or before January 27, 2003, and did not 
        enroll in the patient enrollment system under section 1705 of 
        this title on or before such date, the three-year period 
        beginning on January 27, 2008.''.

[[Page 129 STAT. 37]]

SEC. 8. PROHIBITION ON NEW APPROPRIATIONS.

    No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out 
this Act and the amendments made by this Act, and this Act and such 
amendments shall be carried out using amounts otherwise made available 
for such purposes.

    Approved February 12, 2015.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 203:
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 161 (2015):
            Jan. 12, considered and passed House.
            Feb. 3, considered and passed Senate.

                                  <all>