Summary: H.R.5027 — 95th Congress (1977-1978)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (09/09/1977)

(Measure passed Senate, amended)

Veterans Health Care Amendments Act - =Title I: Contract Care Amendments= - Includes within the definition of "Veterans' Administration facilities" any private facility contracting to provide medical services that are unavailable in Veterans' Administration facilities. Expands the VA's contract authority: (1) in Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories and possessions to include certain medical services which will obviate the need for hospital admissions of veterans with nonservice-connected disabilities; and (2) to include diagnostic services in private facilities where necessary in order for the VA to determine the appropriate course of treatment. Requires periodic reviews of individual contract treatment cases for the purpose of determining the necessity of continuing the contractual arrangement.

Directs the VA, for one year following enactment of this Act, to continue contracting for hospital care and medical services which it had authorized during the period October 20, 1976 through May 15, 1977. Authorizes the continuance of such contract services, on a case-by-case basis, as long as the VA determines that such contract care is necessary. Requires the VA: (1) to insure that each veteran for whom contract services are continued is individually informed of his rights to medical care; and (2) to make and communicate to the veteran-patient a determination of eligibility for continued contract treatment.

Requires annual reports to Congress on the implementation of this title.

=Title II: Physician and Dentist Special-Pay and Other Pay Amendments= - Postpones, until September 30, 1978, the expiration of the special-pay program for dentists and physicians.

Requires the Chief Medical Director to redetermine annually whether significant recruitment problems exist as to any category of medical or dental positions in which there has been no such problem in the past.

Directs the VA to provide the maximum amount of special pay for physicians employed as VA hospital Chiefs of Staff.

Authorizes the Chief Medical Director to determine categories of positions in which there are recruitment and retention problems of employees which warrant excepting such employees from the reduction in special pay equivalent to the October, 1975 cost-of-living increase. Mandates an exception for those employees who agree to serve on a full-time basis for four years. Requires the Chief Medical Director to reevaluate, in view of the pay raise effective in the VA on February 27, 1977, the need for such special pay agreements in order to recruit and retain highly qualified medical and dental personnel.

Requires the VA to implement procedures aimed at overcoming language and cultural barriers between VA health care staff and veteran patients.

Revises the pay schedules applicable to clinical podiatrists and optometrists to reflect statutory increases in pay.

=Title III: Health Care Program and Eligibility Amendments= - Establishes a program of readjustment counseling for any veteran who served on active duty after August 4, 1964 or who served in the Indochina conflict prior to such date. Directs the Chief Medical Director to utilize the services of paraprofessionals, volunteers and veteran-students to the extent feasible in the intake and screening activities of such program.

Provides for a preventive health care program for veterans with service-connected disabilities. Authorizes the Administrator to carry out a pilot program to determine the cost-effectiveness and medical advantages of furnishing preventive health care services to such veterans. Requires the Administrator to advise each veteran eligible for preventive health care services of the nature and extent of such eligibility.

Directs the Administrator to carry out specialized medical programs providing inpatient, outpatient, and rehabilitative treatment to veterans eligible for hospital and medical benefits who are suffering from alcohol or drug dependence or disabilities.

Authorizes the Administrator to furnish drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitative services to any former active-duty personnel who abused drugs or alcohol during active-duty service, except those veterans barred from receiving benefits.

Authorizes the Administrator to provide treatment and rehabilitative services to a veteran in approved community facilities when: (1) a member of the veterans' family is suffering from drug or alcohol dependence or abuse; (2) it is essential that the veteran and such family member be treated together for the successful treatment of the veteran; and (3) both the veteran and such family member have been accepted for treatment in a community facility.

Directs the Administrator to urge employers in the public and private sector to provide employment opportunities to veterans who have been treated for drug or alcohol abuse or dependence, and have been rehabilitated.

Directs the Administrator, upon receiving an application for drug or alcohol abuse treatment from a veteran who is barred from receiving benefits, to advise such veteran of his right to apply for a review of his discharge.

Provides for drug or alcohol abuse or dependence treatment for veterans charged with, or convicted of, a criminal offense.

Provides for the transfer of a member of the active military service, in the final 30 days of a tour of duty, to a VA facility for treatment of a drug disability.

Revises the eligibility for benefits under certain circumstances when an individual extends his period of service; and the entitlement of certain veterans to medical care.

=Title IV: Renaming the Veterans' Administration Hospital in Tampa, Florida= - Renames the Veterans' Administration Hospital in Tampa, Florida, as the "James A Haley Veterans Hospital.

=Title V: Renaming the Veterans' Administration Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts= - Renames the Veterans' Administration Hospital in Bedford Massachusetts, as the "Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital."