Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House without amendment (09/26/2016)

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

Veterans Emergency Treatment Act or the VET Act

(Sec. 1) This bill declares that, if a veteran who is enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care program requests a medical examination or treatment at an emergency department of a VA medical facility, the veteran shall be provided with:

  • a medical screening examination to determine whether an emergency medical condition exists; and
  • if an emergency condition exists, stabilizing medical treatment or transfer to another VA or non-VA medical facility.

The VA is deemed to have met such requirements if it offers to transfer the veteran to another medical facility, informs the veteran of the transfer's risks and benefits, and the veteran refuses to consent to the transfer.

If a non-stabilized emergency medical condition exists the VA hospital may not transfer the veteran unless:

  • the veteran (or individual), after being made aware of the risks, makes a written transfer request;
  • a physician certifies that the medical benefits of a transfer outweigh the risks to the veteran and, in the case of a woman in labor, to the unborn child;
  • if a physician is not present in the emergency department at the time of transfer, a qualified medical person has made such certification after a physician has determined that a transfer's benefit outweighs the risk and a physician subsequently countersigns the qualified medical person's certification; and
  • the transfer is to a medical facility with the necessary treatment capacities.

A VA or non-VA medical facility that has specialized capabilities or facilities (such as burn units, shock-trauma units, neonatal intensive care units, or, with respect to rural areas, regional referral centers) shall not refuse to accept a transfer if the facility has the capacity to treat the veteran.

A VA or non-VA medical facility may not delay a medical screening examination or further medical examination and treatment in order to inquire about a veteran's payment method or insurance status.

The VA may not take adverse action against a VA employee because the employee refuses to authorize the transfer of an enrolled veteran with a non-stabilized emergency medical condition or because the employee reports a violation of this bill.