Summary: H.R.3892 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
House agreed to Senate amendment with amendment (12/06/1979)

(House agreed to Senate amendments with amendments)

Veterans Health Programs Extension and Improvement Act of 1979 - =Title I: Extension and Improvement of Certain Expiring Veterans' Administration Health Programs= - Authorizes appropriations through fiscal year 1982 for grants to States for the construction, expansion, remodeling, or alteration of State homes furnishing domiciliary, nursing home, or hospital care to veterans.

Increases the per diem payments to States for providing domiciliary, nursing home, and hospital care to veterans in State home facilities. Stipulates that such increase shall take effect on January 1, 1980, but for fiscal year 1980, only to the extent and in such amounts as are specifically provided for in appropriation Acts.

Authorizes the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs to enter into agreements with public or nonprofit private institutions in order to participate in cooperative health-care personnel education programs in areas remote from major academic health centers. Authorizes appropriations through fiscal year 1982 for the Exchange of Medical Information program.

Prohibits the Administrator from entering into any agreement for providing assistance for the establishment of new State medical schools after September 30, 1979. Authorizes appropriations for such medical school and training programs through fiscal year 1982.

Eliminates a requirement for grants to affiliated medical schools and to health manpower training institutions that a proposed project will substantially increase the number of students at such medical school or training institution.

=Title II: Modifications of Veterans Health Care and Related Benefits= - Requires the Administrator to prescribe regulations pursuant to beneficiary travel reimbursement under which certain individuals' abilities to defray the cost of travel may be determined. Exempts a veteran or person who meets the applicable income standards for pension eligibility from any such determination requirement.

Authorizes the Administrator to contract for the furnishing of private health care to veterans when such health care is authorized by a Veterans' Administration physician as necessary for the treatment of a medical emergency. Specifies that such contract care and treatment shall continue only until the emergency no longer exists and the veteran can be transferred to a VA or Federal facility.

Authorizes the Administrator to provide outpatient dental care for veterans with service-connected noncompensable dental conditions or disabilities through a contract with a private facility at a cost of not more than $500 during any 12-month period, provided the Administrator determines that the care at such cost is reasonably necessary.

Provides that any disability of a veteran of World War I or the Mexican border period shall be treated as a service-connected disability for medical care purposes, including hospital and outpatient care services.

Authorizes the Administrator to provide home health care services to housebound veterans or veterans receiving additional aid and attendance benefits (or who would be so entitled except for retired pay).

Authorizes the Administrator to provide medical care for surviving dependents of a person dying in active military service and not due to misconduct. Provides that a child between 18 and 23 who is eligible for such benefits who suffers a disability illness or injury while in full-time attendance at an approved educational institution which prevents hime from resuming such attendance, shall remain eligible for such benefits for six months after the disability is removed, until the earlier of two years after such illness' onset, or the student's twenty-third birthday. Provides eligibility for such benefits to the remarried surviving spouse of a person who died during active service when the surviving spouse's remarriage has terminated. Stipulates that such eligibilities ahll take effect on January 1, 1980, but, for fiscal year 1980, only to the extent and for such amount as is specifically provided for in an appropriation Act.

=Title III: Veterans' Administration Medical Personnel Amendments and Miscellaneous Provisions= - Requires the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to provide to the Veterans' Administration for the fiscal year concerned, funded personnel ceilings and the funds necessary to achieve such ceiling for VA health-care staffing. Requires the Director of OMB to submit to the appropriate committees of Congress and the Comptroller General certification that such seiling has been provided. Sets forth specific deadlines for such reporting requirements.

Includes psychologists within the list of those who may be appointed by the Administrator to positions in the VA's Department of Medicine and Surgery. Sets forth qualification standards for such appointments. Requires podiatrists and optometrists to be United States citizens in order to be appointed to such Department.

Shortens the probationary period for medical appointments to such Department from three to two years.

Authorizes the Administrator to enter into sharing agreemtns with organ and blood banks, and other similar institutions.

Amends the statutory authority of the Special Medical Advisory Group )SMAG) to require the inclusion of a disabled veteran on such group. Requires SMAG to report to the Administrator and to Congress on its activities during the preceding fiscal year.

Directs the Administrator, pursuant to protocol approved by the Director of the Office of Technology Assessment, to conduct an epidemiological study of the long-term health effects on individuals from exposure to dioxins (including "Agent Orange") used during the Vietnam conflict. Requires the Director to monitor the VA's compliance with such protocol and report to Congress on its execution. Directs the President to assure that the dioxin study be fully coordinated with other Federal studies relating to dioxin research.