Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (07/21/2015)

Veterans Information Modernization Act

(Sec. 2) This bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to report annually to Congress during 2016 through 2020 on its furnishing of hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care.

Each report shall:

  • evaluate the effectiveness of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) program in improving the quality of, and increasing access to, veterans hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care; and
  • assess physician and other VHA employee workloads, patient demographics and utilization rates, physician compensation, physician and VHA employee productivity, the percentage of hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care provided to veterans in VA facilities and in non-VA facilities, pharmaceutical prices, and outstanding third party health billings.

(Sec. 3) The definition of homeless veteran is expanded for purposes of VA benefits.

(Sec. 4) The VA shall: (1) adopt the device identification system developed for medical devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or implement a comparable standard identification system to identify biological implants for use in VA medical facilities, (2) implement a system for tracking biological implants from human or animal source to implantation which shall be compatible with the identification system, and (3) implement inventory recall controls compatible with the tracking system.

180-day implementation deadlines are set for the identification and tracking systems.

(Sec. 5) The VA may procure biological implants of human origin only from a vendor that:

  • uses the standard identification system and has safeguards to ensure that a distinct identity code has been in place at each distribution step of each biological implant from its donor;
  • is registered as required by the FDA, and for a vendor that uses a tissue distribution intermediary or a tissue processor, provides assurances that the intermediary or processor is registered as required by the FDA;
  • ensures that donor eligibility determinations and other records accompany each biological implant at all times, regardless of the donor's country of origin;
  • agrees to cooperate with all biological implant recalls;
  • agrees to notify the VA of any adverse event or reaction report it provides to the FDA, or of any FDA warning letter issued to the vendor or a tissue processor or tissue distribution intermediary it uses;
  • agrees to retain all records associated with the procurement of a biological implant by the VA for at least 10 years; and
  • provides assurances that the biological implants provided by the vendor are acquired only from tissue processors that maintain active accreditation with the American Association of Tissue Banks or a similar national accreditation specific to biological implants.

The VA may procure biological implants of non-human origin only from a vendor that:

  • uses the standard identification system;
  • is a registered establishment as required by the FDA, and in the case of a vendor that is not the original product manufacturer of such implants the vendor provides assurances that the original product manufacturer is registered as required by the FDA;
  • agrees to cooperate with all biological implant recalls;
  • agrees to notify the VA of any adverse event report it provides to the FDA, or any FDA warning letter issued to the vendor or the original product manufacturer it uses; and
  • agrees to retain all records associated with the procurement of a biological implant by the VA for at least 10 years.

The VA shall procure biological implants under the General Services Administration's federal supply schedules unless the implants are not available under them.

A VA procurement employee who procures biological implants with the intent to avoid, or with reckless disregard of, the procurement requirements of this Act shall be ineligible to hold a certificate of appointment as a contracting officer or serve as a representative of an ordering officer, contracting officer, or purchase card holder.

(Sec. 6) Extended through FY2019 is the mandatory rounding down of percentage increases of certain educational assistance rates and survivors' and dependents' educational assistance rates. Post-FY2019 increases shall be rounded to the nearest whole dollar.

(Sec. 7) The Veterans Expedited Recovery Commission is established to:

  • examine the efficacy of the evidence-based therapy model for treating mental health illnesses of veterans;
  • conduct a patient-centered survey within each of the Veterans Integrated Service Networks to examine the experience of veterans seeking mental health assistance through the VA and non-VA systems, the preferences of veterans regarding mental health treatment, and VA outreach efforts;
  • examine complementary alternative treatment therapies for mental health issues; and
  • study the potential increase of VA claims relating to mental health issues by veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn, including an assessment of VA resources to meet such claims.