Summary: H.R.2920 — 98th Congress (1983-1984)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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House agreed to Senate amendment with amendment (11/02/1983)

(House agreed to Senate amendments with amendments)

Veterans' Health Care Amendments of 1983 - Title I: Veterans' Administration Health-Care Programs - Extends through FY 1988, the period during which Vietnam-era veterans may request psychological readjustment counseling from the Veterans Administration (VA). Directs the Administrator of Veterans Affairs to report to the Veterans Affairs Committees of the Congress by April 1, 1987 on the effectiveness of the VA in meeting the readjustment needs of Vietnam veterans through readjustment counseling and mental health services. Requires the Administrator to report to such committees by July 1, 1987 on the timetable for transferring readjustment counseling to VA health-care facilities.

Directs the Administrator to conduct a comprehensive study of post-traumatic stress disorder and other post-war psychological problems of Vietnam-era veterans. Requires particular attention to veterans who have service-connected disabilities and women veterans. Requires the Administrator to submit such report by October 1, 1986.

Authorizes the Administrator to furnish adult day health care for eligible veterans. Permits the Administrator to furnish in-kind assistance rather than financial compensation to facilities providing adult day health care. Terminates the adult day health care program after FY 1988. Requires the Administrator to report by February 1, 1988 on the medical efficacy and cost effectiveness of furnishing adult day health care as an alternative to nursing home care.

Authorizes the Administrator to refer veterans eligible for hospital, nursing home, domiciliary, and medical care to community residential facilities. Makes each veteran responsible for the cost of care and services provided by such facilities. Requires the Administrator's approval of a facility before placement assistance is provided.

Increases the per diem rates for veterans' care in State homes. Directs the Administrator to report every three years on the adequacy of such rates.

Extends the preventive health care services pilot program through FY 1988.

Directs the Administrator to report to the Veterans' Affairs Committees on how the health care needs of Veterans in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are being met, taking into account the VA's "Report of Special Audit, Veterans Administration Medical and Regional Office Center, San Juan, Puerto Rico."

Limits payments for beneficiary travel beginning in 1984 if the Administrator has not promulgated regulations covering such subject. Directs the Administrator to report by April 1, 1984 on a review of beneficiary travel payments.

Title II: Provisions to Improve the Recruitment and Retention of Certain Personnel - Permits the Administrator to appoint licensed practical or vocational nurses, physical therapists, and certified or registered respiratory therapists for the medical care of veterans. Requires such personnel to have such medical, scientific, or technical qualifications as the Administrator shall prescribe.

Sets forth the period of appointments and the probationary period for such personnel. Establishes wage scales and other terms and conditions of employment. Permits the Administrator to pay such personnel additional pay if necessary to obtain and retain their services. Requires the Administrator and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to submit a joint report to the Veterans' Affairs Committees concerning the conversion of selected health care occupations to title 38 (Veterans), U.S.Code.

Requires the Administrator to report to the Committees by the end of FY 1985 on efforts to develop programs of education and training for career advancement for para-professionals employed in the Department of Medicine and Surgery.

Title III: Women Veterans - Directs the Administrator to establish an Advisory Committee on Women Veterans to advise the Administrator on the administration of benefits for and needs of women veterans. Directs the Committee to report biennially to the Administrator on the activities of the Veterans Administration pertaining to women, together with assessments of needs and recommendations for future action. Directs the Administrator to submit such report to Congress.

Makes women veterans eligible for outpatient treatment at private facilities for medical conditions relating to gender.

Title IV: Veterans Administration Real Property - Prohibits the Administrator from disposing of real property under his or her jurisdiction until 180 days (currently, 30 days) have elapsed since the Administrator notified the Veterans' Affairs Committees of such intention.

Requires the Administrator to determine that certain real property under his or her jurisdiction is not needed by the Veterans Administration to carry out its functions before such property may be declared excess.

Permits the Administrator to release the reversionary interest of the United States restricting the use of specified lands in Biloxi, Mississippi to use as a public park or for other public purpose.

Title V: Status and Role of Administrator of Veterans Affairs - Expresses the sense of Congress that the Administrator should be made a fully participating member of the Cabinet.

Title VI: Radiation Exposure Study and Guide - Directs the Administrator to provide for an epidemiological study of the long-term adverse health effects of exposure to ionizing radiation from the detonation of a nuclear device, either in connection with a test or with the American occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, following World War II. Requires the Director of the Office of Technology Assessment to monitor the development of protocols for and the conduct of such study and report to Congress on such at fixed intervals.

Sets forth procedures and reporting requirements for different stages of the study and for any determinations concerning the feasibility of such a study.

Directs the Administrator to develop and publish within a year an indexed reference guide to provide VA personnel with information regarding the current state of medical and other scientific information on any long-term adverse health effects in humans of exposure to radiation. Requires the Administrator to submit such guide to Congress. Directs the Administrator to periodically review it. Directs the President to insure Federal coordination on radiation exposure research and to report to Congress on same.

Authorizes appropriations.

Title VII: Miscellaneous and Technical Amendments - Makes various technical amendments, including amendments to remove certain gender- based references.