Text: H.R.4771 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 116-137 (04/10/2020)

 
[116th Congress Public Law 137]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 615]]

                    VA TELE-HEARING MODERNIZATION ACT

[[Page 134 STAT. 616]]

Public Law 116-137
116th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To amend title 38, United States Code, to permit appellants to appear in 
    cases before the Board of Veterans' Appeals by picture and voice 
 transmission from locations other than facilities of the Department of 
Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Apr. 10, 2020 -  [H.R. 
                                4771]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: VA Tele-Hearing 
Modernization Act. 38 USC 101 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act''.
SEC. 2. HEARINGS BEFORE THE BOARD OF VETERANS' APPEALS BY MEANS OF 
                    TELECONFERENCE FROM LOCATIONS OTHER THAN 
                    FACILITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS 
                    AFFAIRS.

    (a) In General.--Section 7107(c)(2) of title 38, United States Code, 
is amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (A), by inserting ``or subparagraph (C) 
        of this paragraph'' after ``subparagraph (B) of such 
        paragraph'';
            (2) in subparagraph (B), by inserting ``or subparagraph (C) 
        of this paragraph'' after ``subparagraph (A) of such 
        paragraph''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph (C):

    ``(C)(i) Upon notification of a Board hearing under subparagraph (A) 
or (B) of paragraph (1), the appellant may alternatively request a 
hearing by picture and voice transmission--
            ``(I) at a location selected by the appellant; and
            ``(II) via a secure internet platform established and 
        maintained by the Secretary that protects sensitive personal 
        information from a data breach.

    ``(ii) If an appellant makes a request under clause (i), the Board 
shall grant such request.''.
    (b) <<NOTE: 38 USC 7107 note.>>  Deadline for Implementation.--The 
Secretary shall implement the amendments made by subsection (a) not 
later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

    (c) Reporting.--
            (1) Annual reporting requirements.--Section 7101(d)(2) of 
        such title is amended--
                    (A) in subparagraph (E), by striking ``; and'' and 
                inserting a semicolon;
                    (B) in subparagraph (F), by striking the period at 
                the ending and inserting ``; and''; and

[[Page 134 STAT. 617]]

                    (C) by adding at the end the following new 
                subparagraph:
            ``(G) with respect to hearings scheduled under section 
        7107(c)(2)(C) of this title--
                    ``(i) the number of hearings scheduled under such 
                section;
                    ``(ii) the number of hearings under such section 
                that were cancelled; and
                    ``(iii) any statistical difference in outcomes 
                between cases heard under such section and those held at 
                the principal location of the Board or by picture and 
                voice transmission at a facility of the Department.''.
            (2) <<NOTE: 38 USC 7101 note.>>  One-time reporting 
        requirements.--The first report required to be submitted under 
        section 7101(d) of title 38, United States Code, shall include 
        the following information with respect to hearings scheduled 
        under subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subsection (c) of 
        section 7101 of such title, as added by subsection (a):
                    (A) An outline of the outreach the Secretary of 
                Veterans Affairs plans to conduct to inform veterans, 
                families of veterans, survivors of veterans, veterans 
                service organizations, military service organizations, 
                congressional caseworkers, advocates for veterans, and 
                such other stakeholders as the Secretary considers 
                appropriate about hearings scheduled under such 
                subparagraph, including--
                          (i) a description of the resources required to 
                      conduct such outreach;
                          (ii) <<NOTE: Timeline.>>  a timeline for 
                      conducting such outreach; and
                          (iii) information related to the advantages 
                      and potential technological challenges of 
                      conducting hearings under such subparagraph.
                    (B) <<NOTE: Cost estimates. Timeline.>>  A 
                description of any modifications to the information 
                technology systems of the Veterans Benefits 
                Administration and the Board of Veterans' Appeals 
                required to carry out hearings under such subparagraph, 
                including cost estimates and a timeline for making such 
                modifications.
                    (C) <<NOTE: Assessment. Plan.>>  A detailed 
                description of the intra-agency partnership between the 
                Board of Veterans' Appeals and the telehealth program of 
                the Veterans Health Administration as the Board conducts 
                hearings under such subparagraph, including best 
                practices, a risk assessment overview, risk mitigation 
                efforts, and a plan for ongoing collaboration and 
                information sharing.

    (d) <<NOTE: Procedures. 38 USC 7101 note.>>  Collaboration.--In 
developing the capacity and procedures to conduct hearings under 
subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subsection (c) of section 7101 of 
title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), the Secretary 
of Veterans Affairs shall collaborate with, partner with, and give 
weight to the advice of

[[Page 134 STAT. 618]]

veterans service organizations and such other stakeholders as the 
Secretary considers appropriate.

    Approved April 10, 2020.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 4771:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONGRESSIONAL RECORD:
                                                        Vol. 165 (2019):
                                    Nov. 12, considered and passed 
                                        House.
                                                        Vol. 166 (2020):
                                    Mar. 25, considered and passed 
                                        Senate.

                                  <all>

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