Text: S.1873 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Referred in House (01/29/2018)


115th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 1873


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 29, 2018

Referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


AN ACT

To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a program to establish peer specialists in patient aligned care teams at medical centers of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.

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 “Veteran Partners’ Efforts to Enhance Reintegration Act ” or the “Veteran PEER Act”.

SEC. 2. Program on establishment of peer specialists in patient aligned care team settings within medical centers of Department of Veterans Affairs.

(a) Program required.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall carry out a program to establish not fewer than two peer specialists in patient aligned care teams at medical centers of the Department of Veterans Affairs to promote the use and integration of services for mental health, substance use disorder, and behavior health in a primary care setting.

(b) Timeframe for establishment of program.—The Secretary shall carry out the program at medical centers of the Department as follows:

(1) Not later than December 31, 2018, at not fewer than 25 medical centers of the Department.

(2) Not later than December 31, 2019, at not fewer than 50 medical centers of the Department.

(c) Selection of locations.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall select medical centers for the program as follows:

(A) Not fewer than five shall be medical centers of the Department that are designated by the Secretary as polytrauma centers.

(B) Not fewer than ten shall be medical centers of the Department that are not designated by the Secretary as polytrauma centers.

(2) CONSIDERATIONS.—In selecting medical centers for the program under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall consider the feasibility and advisability of selecting medical centers in the following areas:

(A) Rural areas and other areas that are underserved by the Department.

(B) Areas that are not in close proximity to an active duty military installation.

(C) Areas representing different geographic locations, such as census tracts established by the Bureau of the Census.

(d) Gender-Specific services.—In carrying out the program at each location selected under subsection (c), the Secretary shall ensure that—

(1) the needs of female veterans are specifically considered and addressed; and

(2) female peer specialists are made available to female veterans who are treated at each location.

(e) Engagement with community providers.—At each location selected under subsection (c), the Secretary shall consider ways in which peer specialists can conduct outreach to health care providers in the community who are known to be serving veterans to engage with those providers and veterans served by those providers.

(f) Reports.—

(1) PERIODIC REPORTS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and not less frequently than once every 180 days thereafter until the Secretary determines that the program is being carried out at the last location to be selected under subsection (c), the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the program.

(B) ELEMENTS.—Each report required by subparagraph (A) shall, with respect to the 180-day period preceding the submittal of the report, include the following:

(i) The findings and conclusions of the Secretary with respect to the program.

(ii) An assessment of the benefits of the program to veterans and family members of veterans.

(iii) An assessment of the effectiveness of peer specialists in engaging under subsection (e) with health care providers in the community and veterans served by those providers.

(2) FINAL REPORT.—Not later than 180 days after the Secretary determines that the program is being carried out at the last location to be selected under subsection (c), the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report detailing the recommendations of the Secretary as to the feasibility and advisability of expanding the program to additional locations.

Passed the Senate January 25, 2018.

    Attest: julie e. adams,   
    Secretary