Text: S.2248 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 115-407 (12/31/2018)

 
[115th Congress Public Law 407]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 5367]]

              VETERANS BENEFITS AND TRANSITION ACT OF 2018

[[Page 132 STAT. 5368]]

Public Law 115-407
115th Congress

                                 An Act


 
  To amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of 
  Veterans Affairs to provide certain burial benefits for spouses and 
children of veterans who are buried in tribal cemeteries, and for other 
             purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 31, 2018 -  [S. 2248]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Veterans 
Benefits and Transition Act of 2018. 38 USC 101 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Veterans Benefits 
and Transition Act of 2018''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

                           TITLE I--EDUCATION

Sec. 101. Inclusion of certain additional periods of active duty service 
           for purposes of suspension of charges to entitlement during 
           periods of suspended participation in Department of Veterans 
           Affairs vocational rehabilitation programs.
Sec. 102. Provision of monthly housing stipend information under Post-9/
           11 Educational Assistance Program.
Sec. 103. Disapproval for purposes of educational assistance programs of 
           Department of Veterans Affairs of certain courses of 
           education that do not permit individuals to attend or 
           participate in courses pending payment.
Sec. 104. Provision of information on required additional actions to 
           allow individuals to stay enrolled in courses of education 
           pending receipt of educational assistance from department of 
           veterans affairs.
Sec. 105. Calculation of monthly housing stipend under high technology 
           pilot program based on location of campus where veteran 
           attends classes.
Sec. 106. Clarification regarding applicability of authority to use 
           educational assistance to pursue independent study programs 
           at certain educational institutions that are not institutions 
           of higher learning.

                       TITLE II--MEMORIAL AFFAIRS

Sec. 201. Eligibility of spouses and children of veterans buried in 
           tribal cemeteries for certain Department of Veterans Affairs 
           burial benefits.
Sec. 202. Department of Veterans Affairs provision of headstones and 
           markers for, and interment in national cemeteries of, spouses 
           and dependent children of members of the Armed Forces serving 
           on active duty.

                         TITLE III--CIVIL RELIEF

Sec. 301. Termination of leases of premises of deceased servicemembers 
           who die while in military service.
Sec. 302. Residence of spouses of servicemembers for tax purposes.
Sec. 303. Residence of spouses of servicemembers for voting.
Sec. 304. Termination of multichannel video programming and internet 
           access service contracts.

                     TITLE IV--TRANSITION ASSISTANCE

Sec. 401. Study of community-based transition assistance programs for 
           members of the Armed Forces after separation, retirement, or 
           discharge.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5369]]

                  TITLE V--DEPARTMENTAL ADMINISTRATION

Sec. 501. Misuse of Department of Veterans Affairs purchase cards by 
           Department employees.
Sec. 502. Updating dependent information.
Sec. 503. Oversight of Electronic Health Record Modernization Program.
Sec. 504. Department of Veterans Affairs notice relating to debt 
           collection activities.

                      TITLE VI--MEDICAL FACILITIES

Sec. 601. Authorization of major medical facility projects for fiscal 
           year 2019.
Sec. 602. Plans to improve medical facilities of the Department of 
           Veterans Affairs.

                        TITLE VII--OTHER MATTERS

Sec. 701. Homeless veterans reintegration programs.
Sec. 702. Technical corrections.
Sec. 703. Medical Surgical Prime Vendor program.
Sec. 704. Report on expanding access to dental care for veterans 
           eligible for health care from the Department of Veterans 
           Affairs.

                           TITLE I--EDUCATION

SEC. 101. INCLUSION OF CERTAIN ADDITIONAL PERIODS OF ACTIVE DUTY 
                        SERVICE FOR PURPOSES OF SUSPENSION OF 
                        CHARGES TO ENTITLEMENT DURING PERIODS OF 
                        SUSPENDED PARTICIPATION IN DEPARTMENT OF 
                        VETERANS AFFAIRS VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION 
                        PROGRAMS.

    Section 3105(e)(2) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by 
striking ``or 12304'' and inserting ``12304, 12304a, or 12304b''.
SEC. 102. PROVISION OF MONTHLY HOUSING STIPEND INFORMATION UNDER 
                        POST-9/11 EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.

    Section 3313 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding 
at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(k) Provision of Housing Stipend Payment Information.--
            ``(1) In general.--The Secretary shall furnish to 
        individuals receiving educational assistance under this chapter 
        documentation that verifies the amount of the monthly housing 
        stipend the individual receives under this section.
            ``(2) <<NOTE: Web posting.>>  Manner.--The Secretary shall 
        make such documentation available to the individual using an 
        internet website in the same manner the Secretary provides 
        documentation verifying compensation and other benefits 
        furnished by the Secretary to individuals.''.
SEC. 103. DISAPPROVAL FOR PURPOSES OF EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE 
                        PROGRAMS OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 
                        OF CERTAIN COURSES OF EDUCATION THAT DO 
                        NOT PERMIT INDIVIDUALS TO ATTEND OR 
                        PARTICIPATE IN COURSES PENDING PAYMENT.

    (a) In General.--Section 3679 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(e)(1) <<NOTE: Effective date.>>  Notwithstanding any other 
provision of this chapter, beginning on August 1, 2019, a State 
approving agency, or the Secretary when acting in the role of the State 
approving agency, shall disapprove a course of education provided by an 
educational institution that has in effect a policy that is inconsistent 
with any of the following:
            ``(A) <<NOTE: Termination dates.>>  A policy that permits 
        any covered individual to attend or participate in the course of 
        education during the period beginning on the date on which the 
        individual provides to

[[Page 132 STAT. 5370]]

        the educational institution a certificate of eligibility for 
        entitlement to educational assistance under chapter 31 or 33 of 
        this title and ending on the earlier of the following dates:
                    ``(i) The date on which the Secretary provides 
                payment for such course of education to such 
                institution.
                    ``(ii) The date that is 90 days after the date on 
                which the educational institution certifies for tuition 
                and fees following receipt from the student such 
                certificate of eligibility.
            ``(B) A policy that ensures that the educational institution 
        will not impose any penalty, including the assessment of late 
        fees, the denial of access to classes, libraries, or other 
        institutional facilities, or the requirement that a covered 
        individual borrow additional funds, on any covered individual 
        because of the individual's inability to meet his or her 
        financial obligations to the institution due to the delayed 
        disbursement of a payment to be provided by the Secretary under 
        chapter 31 or 33 of this title.

    ``(2) For purposes of this subsection, a covered individual is any 
individual who is entitled to educational assistance under chapter 31 or 
33 of this title.
    ``(3) <<NOTE: Waiver authority.>>  The Secretary may waive such 
requirements of paragraph (1) as the Secretary considers appropriate.

    ``(4) It shall not be inconsistent with a policy described in 
paragraph (1) for an educational institution to require a covered 
individual to take the following additional actions:
            ``(A) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Submit a certificate of 
        eligibility for entitlement to educational assistance not later 
        than the first day of a course of education for which the 
        individual has indicated the individual wishes to use the 
        individual's entitlement to educational assistance.
            ``(B) Submit a written request to use such entitlement.
            ``(C) Provide additional information necessary to the proper 
        certification of enrollment by the educational institution.''.

    (b) <<NOTE: 38 USC 3680 note.>>  Prompt Payments.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  In general.--The Secretary of 
        Veterans Affairs shall take such actions as may be necessary to 
        ensure that the Secretary makes a payment to an educational 
        institution on behalf of an individual, who is entitled to 
        educational assistance under chapter 31 or 33 of title 38, 
        United States Code, and who is using such assistance to pursue a 
        program of education at the educational institution, not later 
        than 60 days after the date on which the educational institution 
        certifies to the Secretary the applicable tuition and fees for 
        the individual.
            (2) Semiannual reports.--Not later than May 1 and October 1 
        of each year, 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 semiannual report 
        summarizing any cases in which the Secretary failed to make a 
        payment described in paragraph (1) within the period set forth 
        in such paragraph and an explanation for each delayed 
        disbursement of payment.

    (c) <<NOTE: 38 USC 3679 note.>>  Rule of Construction.--In a case in 
which an individual is unable to meet a financial obligation to an 
educational institution due to the delayed disbursement of a payment to 
be provided by the Secretary under chapter 31 or 33 of such title and 
the amount of such disbursement is less than anticipated, nothing

[[Page 132 STAT. 5371]]

in section 3679(e) of such title, as added by subsection (a), shall be 
construed to prohibit an educational institution from requiring 
additional payment or imposing a fee for the amount that is the 
difference between the amount of the financial obligation and the amount 
of the disbursement.
SEC. 104. PROVISION OF INFORMATION ON REQUIRED ADDITIONAL ACTIONS 
                        TO ALLOW INDIVIDUALS TO STAY ENROLLED IN 
                        COURSES OF EDUCATION PENDING RECEIPT OF 
                        EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE FROM DEPARTMENT OF 
                        VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    Section 3698(c)(1)(C) of title 38, United States Code, is amended--
            (1) in clause (x), by striking ``; and'' and inserting a 
        semicolon;
            (2) in clause (xi), by striking the period at the end and 
        inserting ``; and''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new clause:
                    ``(xii) information on whether the institution 
                requires a covered individual to take additional action 
                pursuant to section 3679(e)(4) of this title to stay 
                enrolled in a course pending receipt of educational 
                assistance under a law administered by the Secretary.''.
SEC. 105. CALCULATION OF MONTHLY HOUSING STIPEND UNDER HIGH 
                        TECHNOLOGY PILOT PROGRAM BASED ON LOCATION 
                        OF CAMPUS WHERE VETERAN ATTENDS CLASSES.

    Section 116(d)(1) of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational 
Assistance Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-48, 38 U.S.C. 3001 (note)), is 
amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``the institution at 
        which the individual is enrolled'' and inserting ``the campus of 
        the institution where the individual physically participates in 
        a majority of classes''; and
            (2) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``the amount payable'' 
        and all that follows through ``subparagraph (A)'' and inserting 
        ``the national average of the monthly amount of the basic 
        allowance for housing payable under section 403 of title 37, 
        United States Code, for a member with dependents in pay grade E-
        5''.
SEC. 106. CLARIFICATION REGARDING APPLICABILITY OF AUTHORITY TO 
                        USE EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE TO PURSUE 
                        INDEPENDENT STUDY PROGRAMS AT CERTAIN 
                        EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE NOT 
                        INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING.

    The section heading for section 302 of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans 
Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (Public Law 115-48; 131 Stat. 990) is 
amended to read as follows (and the table of contents for such Act is 
conformed accordingly):

[[Page 132 STAT. 5372]]

``SEC. 302. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE UNDER 
                        ANY OF THE EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS 
                        OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS TO 
                        PURSUE INDEPENDENT STUDY PROGRAMS AT 
                        CERTAIN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE 
                        NOT INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING.''.

                       TITLE II--MEMORIAL AFFAIRS

SEC. 201. ELIGIBILITY OF SPOUSES AND CHILDREN OF VETERANS BURIED 
                        IN TRIBAL CEMETERIES FOR CERTAIN 
                        DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS BURIAL 
                        BENEFITS.

    Section 2306 of title 38, United States Code, is amended--
            (1) in subsection (a)(4), by inserting ``or a veterans' 
        cemetery owned by a tribal organization or on land owned by or 
        held in trust for a tribal organization'' after ``State'';
            (2) in subsection (b)(1), by inserting ``, a veterans' 
        cemetery of a tribal organization or on land owned by or held in 
        trust for a tribal organization'' after ``owned by a State'';
            (3) in subsection (f)--
                    (A) by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as 
                subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively;
                    (B) by striking ``The Secretary'' and inserting 
                ``(1) The Secretary'';
                    (C) by striking ``a national cemetery or in a 
                veterans cemetery of a State or tribal organization for 
                which the Department has provided a grant under section 
                2408 of this title'' and inserting ``a covered 
                cemetery''; and
                    (D) by adding at the end the following:

    ``(2) <<NOTE: Definition.>>  The term `covered cemetery' means any 
of the following:
            ``(A) A national cemetery.
            ``(B) A veterans' cemetery of a State for which the 
        Department has provided a grant under section 2408 of this 
        title.
            ``(C) A veterans' cemetery of a tribal organization or on 
        land owned by or held in trust for a tribal organization for 
        which the Department has provided a grant under subsection (f) 
        of such section.''; and
            (4) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

    ``(i) <<NOTE: Definition.>>  In this section, the term `tribal 
organization' has the meaning given such term in section 3765 of this 
title.''.
SEC. 202. <<NOTE: Effective dates.>>  DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS 
                        AFFAIRS PROVISION OF HEADSTONES AND 
                        MARKERS FOR, AND INTERMENT IN NATIONAL 
                        CEMETERIES OF, SPOUSES AND DEPENDENT 
                        CHILDREN OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES 
                        SERVING ON ACTIVE DUTY.

    (a) Headstones and Markers.--Section 2306(b)(2) of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (B), by inserting ``, or the spouse of a 
        member of the Armed Forces serving on active duty under 
        conditions other than dishonorable, as shown by a statement from 
        a general court-martial convening authority, at the time of the 
        spouse's death if such death occurs before October 1, 2024'' 
        after ``veteran''; and
            (2) in subparagraph (C), by inserting ``, or the eligible 
        dependent child of a member of the Armed Forces serving on 
        active duty under conditions other than dishonorable, as

[[Page 132 STAT. 5373]]

        shown by a statement from a general court-martial convening 
        authority, at the time of the child's death if such death occurs 
        before October 1, 2024'' after ``veteran''.

    (b) Interment in National Cemeteries.--Section 2402(a)(5) of such 
title is amended by inserting ``, and the spouse, minor child, and, in 
the discretion of the Secretary, unmarried adult child of a member of 
the Armed Forces serving on active duty under conditions other than 
dishonorable, as shown by a statement from a general court-martial 
convening authority, at the time of the spouse's or child's death if 
such death occurs before October 1, 2024'' after ``paragraph (7)''.

                         TITLE III--CIVIL RELIEF

SEC. 301. TERMINATION OF LEASES OF PREMISES OF DECEASED 
                        SERVICEMEMBERS WHO DIE WHILE IN MILITARY 
                        SERVICE.

    Section 305(a) of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. 
3955) is amended--
            (1) in the subsection heading, by striking ``by Lessee'';
            (2) in the heading for paragraph (1), by striking ``In 
        general'' and inserting ``Termination by lessee''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
            ``(3) <<NOTE: Time period. Effective date.>>  Death of 
        lessee.--The spouse of the lessee on a lease described in 
        subsection (b)(1) may terminate the lease during the one-year 
        period beginning on the date of the death of the lessee, if the 
        lessee dies while in military service or while performing full-
        time National Guard duty, active Guard and Reserve duty, or 
        inactive-duty training (as such terms are defined in section 
        101(d) of title 10, United States Code).''.
SEC. 302. RESIDENCE OF SPOUSES OF SERVICEMEMBERS FOR TAX PURPOSES.

    (a) Residence for Tax Purposes.--Section 511(a)(2) of the 
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. 4001(a)(2)) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``A spouse'' and inserting the following:
                    ``(A) In general.--A spouse''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
                    ``(B) Election.--For any taxable year of the 
                marriage, the spouse of a servicemember may elect to use 
                the same residence for purposes of taxation as the 
                servicemember regardless of the date on which the 
                marriage of the spouse and the servicemember 
                occurred.''.

    (b) <<NOTE: 50 USC 4001 note.>>  Applicability.--The amendments made 
by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to any return of State or 
local income tax filed for any taxable year beginning with the taxable 
year that includes the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 303. RESIDENCE OF SPOUSES OF SERVICEMEMBERS FOR VOTING.

    (a) In General.--Section 705(b) of the Servicemembers Civil Relief 
Act (50 U.S.C. 4025(b)) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``State or local office'' and all that 
        follows through the period at the end of paragraph (3) and 
        inserting ``State or local office--''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
            ``(1) a person who is absent from a State because the person 
        is accompanying the person's spouse who is absent

[[Page 132 STAT. 5374]]

        from that same State in compliance with military or naval orders 
        shall not, solely by reason of that absence--
                    ``(A) be deemed to have lost a residence or domicile 
                in that State, without regard to whether or not the 
                person intends to return to that State;
                    ``(B) be deemed to have acquired a residence or 
                domicile in any other State; or
                    ``(C) be deemed to have become a resident in or a 
                resident of any other State; and
            ``(2) the spouse of a servicemember may elect to use the 
        same residence as the servicemember regardless of the date on 
        which the marriage of the spouse and the servicemember 
        occurred.''.

    (b) <<NOTE: 50 USC 4025 note.>>  Effective Date.--The amendments 
made by subsection (a) shall take effect on the date that is 90 days 
after the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 304. TERMINATION OF MULTICHANNEL VIDEO PROGRAMMING AND 
                        INTERNET ACCESS SERVICE CONTRACTS.

    (a) In General.--Section 305A of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act 
(50 U.S.C. 3956) is amended--
            (1) in the section heading, by inserting ``, multichannel 
        video programming, and internet access'' after ``telephone'';
            (2) in subsection (b), by striking ``cellular telephone 
        service or telephone exchange service'' and inserting 
        ``commercial mobile service, telephone exchange service, 
        internet access service, or multichannel video programming 
        service'';
            (3) in subsection (c), by inserting ``for commercial mobile 
        service or telephone exchange service'' before ``terminated'';
            (4) in subsection (d), in the matter preceding paragraph 
        (1), by striking ``cellular telephone service'' and inserting 
        ``commercial mobile service'';
            (5) in subsection (e)--
                    (A) by striking ``For any'' and inserting the 
                following:
            ``(1) In general.--For any'';
                    (B) by striking ``If the'' and inserting the 
                following:
            ``(2) Reinstatement of service.--If the''; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(3) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Return of provider-owned 
        equipment.--If a servicemember terminates a contract under 
        subsection (a), the servicemember shall return any provider-
        owned consumer premises equipment to the service provider not 
        later than 10 days after the date on which service is 
        disconnected.''; and
            (6) in subsection (g)--
                    (A) by redesignating paragraph (2) as paragraph (4); 
                and
                    (B) <<NOTE: Definitions.>>  by striking paragraph 
                (1) and inserting the following:
            ``(1) The term `commercial mobile service' has the meaning 
        given that term in section 332(d) of the Communications Act of 
        1934 (47 U.S.C. 332(d)).
            ``(2) The term `multichannel video programming service' 
        means a subscription video service offered by a multichannel 
        video programming distributor, as that term is defined in 
        section 602 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 522), 
        over a system the distributor owns or controls.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5375]]

            ``(3) The term `provider-owned consumer premises equipment' 
        means any equipment that a provider of internet access service 
        or multichannel video programming service rents or loans to a 
        customer during the provision of that service, including 
        gateways, routers, cable modems, voice-capable modems, 
        CableCARDs, converters, digital adapters, remote controls, and 
        any other equipment provided.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendments.--
            (1) Title heading.--The heading for title III of the 
        Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is amended by striking 
        ``TELEPHONE'' and inserting ``COMMUNICATIONS''.
            (2) Table of contents.--The table of contents in section 
        1(b) of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is amended--
                    (A) by striking the item relating to title III and 
                inserting the following new item:

``TITLE III--RENT, INSTALLMENT CONTRACTS, MORTGAGES, LIENS, ASSIGNMENT, 
               LEASES, COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE CONTRACTS'';

                and
                    (B) by striking the item relating to section 305A 
                and inserting the following new item:

``Sec. 305A. Termination of telephone, multichannel video programming, 
           and internet access service contracts.''.

                     TITLE IV--TRANSITION ASSISTANCE

SEC. 401. STUDY OF COMMUNITY-BASED TRANSITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS 
                        FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AFTER 
                        SEPARATION, RETIREMENT, OR DISCHARGE.

    (a) <<NOTE: Consultation.>>  Study.--The Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs, in consultation with State entities that serve members of the 
Armed Forces who are retired, separated, or discharged from the Armed 
Forces, shall enter into an agreement with an appropriate non-Federal 
entity to carry out a study to identify community-based programs--
            (1) that provide transition assistance to such members; and
            (2) operated by nonprofit entities.

    (b) <<NOTE: Lists.>>  Transmission to Members.--The Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs shall transmit the list of programs identified under 
this section to the Secretary of Defense so the Secretaries of the 
military departments may provide information in the list to members of 
the Armed Forces who participate in the Transition Assistance Program 
under sections 1142 and 1144 of title 10, United States Code.

    (c) Online Publication.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
publish the most recent version of the list of programs identified under 
this section on a public website of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5376]]

                  TITLE V--DEPARTMENTAL ADMINISTRATION

SEC. 501. MISUSE OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS PURCHASE CARDS 
                        BY DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter I of chapter 7 of title 38, United 
States Code, is further amended by adding at the end the following new 
section:
``Sec. 728. <<NOTE: 38 USC 728.>>  Misuse of Department purchase 
                cards

    ``(a) <<NOTE: Determination.>>  In General.--(1) The Secretary shall 
prohibit any employee of the Department who the Secretary or the 
Inspector General of the Department determines has knowingly misused a 
purchase card from serving as a purchase card holder or approving 
official.

    ``(2) Such a prohibition shall be in addition to any other 
applicable penalty.
    ``(b) <<NOTE: Definition.>>  Misuse.--For purposes of this section, 
the term `misuse' means--
            ``(1) splitting purchases;
            ``(2) exceeding applicable purchase card limits or purchase 
        thresholds;
            ``(3) purchasing any unauthorized item;
            ``(4) using a purchase card without being an authorized 
        purchase card holder; or
            ``(5) violating ethics standards.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter <<NOTE: 38 USC 701 prec.>>  is amended by inserting after 
the item relating to section 728 the following new item:

``728. Misuse of Department purchase cards.''.

SEC. 502. <<NOTE: 38 USC 5701 note prec.>>  UPDATING DEPENDENT 
                        INFORMATION.

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall make such changes to such 
information technology systems of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 
including the eBenefits system or successor system, as may be necessary 
so that whenever the Secretary records in such systems information about 
a dependent of a person, the person is able to review and revise such 
information.
SEC. 503. <<NOTE: 38 USC 5701 note prec.>>  OVERSIGHT OF 
                        ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORD MODERNIZATION 
                        PROGRAM.

    (a) <<NOTE: Deadline. Plans. Cost estimates.>>  Program Documents.--
Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the appropriate 
congressional committees the following documents concerning the 
Electronic Health Record Modernization Program:
            (1) Integrated Master Plan.
            (2) Integrated Master Schedule.
            (3) Program Management Plan.
            (4) Annual and lifecycle cost estimates, including, at a 
        minimum, cost elements relating to--
                    (A) Federal Government labor;
                    (B) contractor labor;
                    (C) hardware;
                    (D) software; and
                    (E) testing and evaluation.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5377]]

            (5) Cost baseline.
            (6) Risk Management Plan.
            (7) Health IT Strategic Architecture Plan.
            (8) Transition Plan for implementing updated architecture.
            (9) Data Migration Plan.
            (10) System and Data Security Plan.
            (11) Application Implementation Plan.
            (12) System Design Documents.
            (13) Legacy Veterans Information Systems and Technology 
        Architecture Standardization, Security Enhancement, and 
        Consolidation Project Plan.
            (14) Health Data Interoperability Management Plan.
            (15) Community Care Vision and Implementation Plan, 
        including milestones and a detailed description of how complete 
        interoperability with non-Department health care providers will 
        be achieved.

    (b) <<NOTE: Deadline. Effective date. Termination 
date. Plans. Reports.>>  Quarterly Updates.--Not later than 30 days 
after the end of each fiscal quarter during the period beginning with 
the fiscal quarter in which this Act is enacted and ending on the date 
on which the Electronic Health Record Modernization Program is 
completed, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate congressional 
committees the most recent updated versions, if any exist, of the 
following documents:
            (1) Integrated Master Schedule.
            (2) Program Management Plan, including any written Program 
        Management Review material developed for the Program Management 
        Plan during the fiscal quarter covered by the submission.
            (3) Each document described in subsection (a)(4).
            (4) Performance Baseline Report for the fiscal quarter 
        covered by the submission or for the fiscal quarter ending the 
        fiscal year prior to the submission.
            (5) Budget Reconciliation Report.
            (6) Risk Management Plan and Risk Register.

    (c) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Contracts.--Not later than 5 days after 
awarding a contract, order, or agreement, including any modifications 
thereto, under the Electronic Health Record Modernization Program, the 
Secretary shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a 
copy of the entire such contract, order, agreement, or modification.

    (d) Notification.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Requirement.--Not later than 10 
        days after an event described in paragraph (2) occurs, the 
        Secretary shall notify the appropriate congressional committees 
        of such occurrence, including a description of the event and an 
        explanation for why such event occurred.
            (2) Event described.--An event described in this paragraph 
        is any of the following events regarding the Electronic Health 
        Record Modernization Program:
                    (A) The delay of any milestone or deliverable by 30 
                or more days.
                    (B) A request for equitable adjustment, equitable 
                adjustment, or change order exceeding $1,000,000 (as 
                such terms are defined in the Federal Acquisition 
                Regulation).
                    (C) The submission of any protest, claim, or 
                dispute, and the resolution of any protest, claim, or 
                dispute (as such terms are defined in the Federal 
                Acquisition Regulation).

[[Page 132 STAT. 5378]]

                    (D) A loss of clinical or other data.
                    (E) A breach of patient privacy, including any--
                          (i) disclosure of protected health information 
                      that is not permitted under regulations 
                      promulgated under section 264(c) of the Health 
                      Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 
                      1996 (Public Law 104-191; 42 U.S.C. 1320d-2 note); 
                      and
                          (ii) breach of sensitive personal information 
                      (as defined in section 5727 of title 38, United 
                      States Code).

    (e) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) The term ``appropriate congressional committees'' 
        means--
                    (A) the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the House 
                of Representatives and the Senate; and
                    (B) the Committees on Appropriations of the House of 
                Representatives and the Senate.
            (2) The term ``Electronic Health Record Modernization 
        Program'' means--
                    (A) any activities by the Department of Veterans 
                Affairs to procure or implement an electronic health or 
                medical record system to replace any or all of the 
                Veterans Information Systems and Technology 
                Architecture, the Computerized Patient Record System, 
                the Joint Legacy Viewer, or the Enterprise Health 
                Management Platform; and
                    (B) any contracts or agreements entered into by the 
                Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out, support, or 
                analyze the activities under subparagraph (A).
SEC. 504. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS NOTICE RELATING TO DEBT 
                        COLLECTION ACTIVITIES.

    (a) <<NOTE: Determination. 38 USC 5301 note prec.>>  Debt 
Notification Letter Formats.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
collaborate with veterans service organizations to develop a standard 
format for any letter provided to an individual who the Secretary 
determines is indebted to the United States by virtue of such 
individual's participation in a benefits program administered by the 
Secretary. Such letter shall be written in plain language and shall 
include a notice of the debt and a clear explanation of--
            (1) why the individual is indebted to the United States by 
        virtue of such person's participation in a benefits program 
        administered by the Secretary; and
            (2) the options available to the individual.

    (b) Delivery of Debt Notices by Standard Mail and Electronic 
Means.--The Secretary <<NOTE: 38 USC 5301 note prec.>>  shall develop a 
method by which individuals may elect to receive notice of debt by 
electronic means and shall ensure, to the extent practicable, that the 
letter developed under subsection (a) is delivered--
            (1) by both standard mail and by electronic means to 
        intended recipients who have made such an election; and
            (2) only by standard mail to intended recipients who have 
        not made such an election.

    (c) <<NOTE: 38 USC 5301 note prec.>>  Notice to Congress.--
            (1) Notices of completion.--Upon completion of the 
        development of the standard letter format required under 
        subsection (a) and upon completion of development of the method 
        by which individuals may elect to receive notice of debt by

[[Page 132 STAT. 5379]]

        electronic means under subsection (b), the Secretary shall 
        submit to Congress notice of the completion of the respective 
        development.
            (2) <<NOTE: Effective date.>>  Progress reports.--If the 
        Secretary has not submitted each notice required by paragraph 
        (1) by the date that is 90 days after the date of the enactment 
        of this Act, the Secretary shall--
                    (A) submit to Congress a report describing the 
                progress of the Secretary toward implementing 
                subsections (a) and (b) and an explanation for why the 
                respective development has not been completed; and
                    (B) every 30 days thereafter until all of the 
                notices required by paragraph (1) have been submitted, 
                submit to Congress an update to the report under 
                subparagraph (A) that includes an additional explanation 
                for the failure to complete the respective development.

    (d) Study and Report.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Coordination.>>  Study.--The Secretary of 
        Veterans Affairs, in coordination with the Secretary of the 
        Treasury, shall conduct a study on the process by which 
        individuals who are indebted to the United States by virtue of 
        their participation in a benefits program administered by the 
        Secretary of Veterans Affairs are notified of debt collection 
        efforts relating to such indebtedness.
            (2) <<NOTE: Analyses.>>  Elements.--The study required by 
        paragraph (1) shall include the following:
                    (A) An analysis of the scope of the problem of 
                individuals who are indebted to the United States by 
                virtue of their participation in a benefits program 
                administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs not 
                receiving debt collection notices relating to such 
                indebtedness.
                    (B) <<NOTE: Timeline.>>  Identification of 
                administrative actions the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
                and the Secretary of the Treasury can carry out to 
                reduce the number of incorrect or unknown addresses of 
                such individuals in the databases of the Department 
                Veterans Affairs and the Department of the Treasury and 
                a timeline for carrying out such actions.
                    (C) <<NOTE: Cost estimate.>>  An estimate of the 
                costs associated with sending debt collection notices to 
                such individuals by certified mail.
                    (D) An analysis of whether, or to what extent, 
                sending debt collection notices to such individuals by 
                certified mail would address the problem analyzed under 
                subparagraph (A).
                    (E) An analysis of the requirements and resources 
                that would be necessary for the Secretary of Veterans 
                Affairs to establish a method for the Secretary to 
                display in one consolidated document the details 
                regarding all of the debts of an individual to the 
                United States by virtue of such individual's 
                participation in a benefits program administered by the 
                Secretary.
                    (F) An analysis of the extent to which such 
                individuals are so indebted by reason of actions by the 
                Secretary or by actions of the individual, including any 
                trends relating to whether the actions of the individual 
                may be by reason of error, misrepresentation, or fraud.
            (3) <<NOTE: Coordination.>>  Report.--Not later than one 
        year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary 
        of Veterans Affairs,

[[Page 132 STAT. 5380]]

        in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury, shall submit 
        to Congress a report on the findings of the Secretaries with 
        respect to the study conducted under paragraph (1).

                      TITLE VI--MEDICAL FACILITIES

SEC. 601. AUTHORIZATION OF MAJOR MEDICAL FACILITY PROJECTS FOR 
                        FISCAL YEAR 2019.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may carry out the 
following major medical facility projects in fiscal year 2019 at the 
locations specified and in an amount for each project not to exceed the 
amount specified for such location:
            (1) <<NOTE: New York.>>  Construction of a community living 
        center and renovation of domiciliary and outpatient facilities 
        in Canandaigua, New York, in an amount not to exceed 
        $351,980,000 (an increase of $193,000,000 as compared to the 
        previous authorization for such project).
            (2) <<NOTE: Illinois.>>  Renovation of space for a 
        simulation training education center in North Chicago, Illinois, 
        in an amount not to exceed $15,980,000.
            (3) <<NOTE: Oklahoma.>>  Construction of a surgical 
        intensive care unit and renovation to expand the operating room 
        suite in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in an amount not to exceed 
        $29,461,000.
            (4) <<NOTE: Kentucky.>>  Construction of a new medical 
        facility in Louisville, Kentucky, in an amount not to exceed 
        $450,000,000 (an increase of $300,000,000 as compared to the 
        previous authorization for such project).

    (b) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2019 
or the year in which funds are appropriated for the Construction, Major 
Projects account, $847,421,000 for the projects authorized in subsection 
(a).
SEC. 602. <<NOTE: 38 USC 1701 note.>>  PLANS TO IMPROVE MEDICAL 
                        FACILITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS 
                        AFFAIRS.

    (a) <<NOTE: Deadlines.>>  Plans Required.--
            (1) Plans of directors of medical facilities.--Not later 
        than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the 
        Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall require each director of a 
        medical facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs to submit 
        to the director of the Veterans Integrated Service Network that 
        covers the facility a plan to improve such facility.
            (2) Plans of directors of veterans integrated service 
        networks.--The Secretary shall require each director of a 
        Veterans Integrated Service Network to submit to the Secretary, 
        not later than 60 days after receiving all of the plans under 
        paragraph (1), a plan, based on the plans received under 
        paragraph (1), to improve the facilities within that Veterans 
        Integrated Service Network in such a fashion that would improve 
        the ability of all facilities within that network to provide the 
        best and most efficient care to patients.

    (b) Regular Reports.--The Secretary shall ensure that each director 
of a Veterans Integrated Service Network submits to the Secretary, not 
later than two years after the date of the enactment of this Act and not 
less frequently than once every two years thereafter, a report on the 
actions taken by the director to improve

[[Page 132 STAT. 5381]]

the facilities within that Veterans Integrated Service Network and what 
further such actions might be necessary.
    (c) Sense of Congress on Use of Authorities to Investigate Medical 
Centers of the Department of Veterans Affairs.--It is the sense of 
Congress that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should make full use of 
the authorities provided by section 2 of the Enhancing Veteran Care Act 
(Public Law 115-95; 38 U.S.C. 1701 note).

                        TITLE VII--OTHER MATTERS

SEC. 701. HOMELESS VETERANS REINTEGRATION PROGRAMS.

    Section 2021(a) of title 38, United States Code, is amended--
            (1) by striking ``reintegration of homeless veterans into 
        the labor force.'' and inserting the following: ``reintegration 
        into the labor force of--''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
            ``(1) homeless veterans (including veterans who were 
        homeless but found housing during the 60-day period preceding 
        the date on which the veteran begins to participate in a program 
        under this section);
            ``(2) veterans participating in the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs supported housing program for which rental assistance is 
        provided pursuant to section 8(o)(19) of the United States 
        Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f(o)(19)) or the Tribal HUD-
        VA Supportive Housing (Tribal HUD-VASH) program;
            ``(3) Indians who are veterans and receiving assistance 
        under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self 
        Determination Act of 1996 (25 U.S.C. 4101 et seq.);
            ``(4) veterans described in section 2023(e) of this title or 
        any other veterans who are transitioning from being 
        incarcerated; and
            ``(5) veterans participating in the Department of Veterans 
        Affairs rapid rehousing and prevention program authorized in 
        section 2044 of this title.''.
SEC. 702. TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS.

    (a) Title 38.--Title 38, United States Code, is amended as follows:
            (1) <<NOTE: 38 USC 5501 prec.>>  In the table of sections at 
        the beginning of chapter 55, by inserting a period at the end of 
        the item relating to section 5501A.
            (2) In section 7463(c)(2)(B), by striking ``to answer to 
        answer'' and inserting ``to answer''.

    (b) Veterans' Benefits Improvements Act of 1996.--Section 504 of the 
Veterans' Benefits Improvements Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-275; 38 
U.S.C. 5101 note) is amended by redesignating the second subsection (c) 
as subsection (d).
SEC. 703. <<NOTE: 38 USC 8125 note.>>  MEDICAL SURGICAL PRIME 
                        VENDOR PROGRAM.

    (a) Vendors.--In procuring certain medical, surgical, and dental 
supplies or laboratory supplies for medical centers of the Department of 
Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall carry out the 
Medical Surgical Prime Vendor program, or successor program, in a manner 
that--

[[Page 132 STAT. 5382]]

            (1) <<NOTE: Contracts.>>  requires the Secretary to award 
        contracts to multiple regional prime vendors instead of a single 
        nationwide prime vendor; and
            (2) prohibits a prime vendor from solely designing the 
        formulary of such supplies.

    (b) Clinically Driven Sourcing.--
            (1) Expertise.--In carrying out the formulary of supplies 
        under the Medical Surgical Prime Vendor program, or successor 
        program, the Secretary shall ensure that each employee of the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs who conducts formulary analyses 
        or makes decisions with respect to including items on the 
        formulary has medical expertise relevant to the items for which 
        the employee conducts such analyses or makes such decisions.
            (2) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Lists.--Not later than 30 days 
        after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every six 
        months thereafter with respect to any updates, the Secretary 
        shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the House 
        of Representatives and the Senate a list of each employee 
        described in paragraph (1) and the relevant medical expertise of 
        the employee, listed by the categories of items in the formulary 
        described in such paragraph.
SEC. 704. REPORT ON EXPANDING ACCESS TO DENTAL CARE FOR VETERANS 
                        ELIGIBLE FOR HEALTH CARE FROM THE 
                        DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) In General.--Not later than 360 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 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 
feasibility and advisability of expanding access to dental care for 
eligible veterans.
    (b) <<NOTE: Analyses.>>  Elements.--The report required by 
subsection (a) shall include the following:
            (1) An analysis of access to dental care for eligible 
        veterans outside of the Department, including--
                    (A) the percentage of eligible veterans currently 
                enrolled in dental insurance through a third-party 
                payer, including--
                          (i) the dental insurance plan for veterans and 
                      survivors and dependents of veterans under section 
                      1712C of title 38, United States Code;
                          (ii) the Medicaid program under title XIX of 
                      the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.); 
                      and
                          (iii) employer-sponsored dental insurance;
                    (B) the affordability of dental insurance described 
                in subparagraph (A); and
                    (C) the comprehensiveness of benefits of dental 
                insurance described in subparagraph (A).
            (2) An analysis of the current oral health needs of eligible 
        veterans, including an estimate of the number of eligible 
        veterans who--
                    (A) experience untreated cavities or decay;
                    (B) require dentures, implants, or other restorative 
                dental services; or
                    (C) have not received regular dental cleanings 
                within the two-year period preceding the report.

[[Page 132 STAT. 5383]]

            (3) An analysis of the financial impact to the Department of 
        Veterans Affairs of providing dental care to eligible veterans, 
        including--
                    (A) whether the provision of such services would 
                result in a reduction in total health care costs;
                    (B) a cost-benefit analysis that indicates potential 
                cost savings to the Department over a 5-, 10-, and 20-
                year period; and
                    (C) projected cost savings to the Department and 
                across the broader health care system.
            (4) An analysis of the number and types of dental providers 
        necessary to treat eligible veterans, including--
                    (A) dentists;
                    (B) hygienists;
                    (C) dental technicians; and
                    (D) dental therapists.

    (c) Categories of Eligible Veterans.--The report required by 
subsection (a) shall be disaggregated by each of the following 
categories of eligible veterans:
            (1) Veterans enrolled in the system of annual patient 
        enrollment of the Department pursuant to the priority group 
        under subsection (a)(6) of section 1705 of such title.
            (2) Veterans enrolled in such system pursuant to the 
        priority group under subsection (a)(5) of such section.
            (3) Veterans enrolled in such system pursuant to a priority 
        group under any of subsections (a)(1) through (a)(4) of such 
        section.
            (4) Veterans enrolled in such system pursuant to a priority 
        group under subsection (a)(7) or (a)(8) of such section.

    (d) Eligible Veterans Defined.--In this section, the term ``eligible 
veterans'' means veterans enrolled in the system of annual patient 
enrollment of the Department of Veterans Affairs established and 
operated under section 1705 of title 38, United States Code.

    Approved December 31, 2018.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 2248 (H.R. 3657):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 115-388 (Comm. on Veterans' Affairs) accompanying 
H.R. 3657.
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 164 (2018):
            March 1, considered and passed Senate.
            Dec. 10, considered and passed House, amended.
            Dec. 19, Senate concurred in House amendment.

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