Summary: H.R.505 — 99th Congress (1985-1986)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Senate agreed to House amendment with amendment (11/13/1985)

(Senate agreed to House amendment with an amendment)

Veterans' Administration Health-Care Amendments of 1985 - Title I: Health Care Programs - Amends Federal veterans' benefits provisions to extend the veterans' alcohol and drug treatment and rehabilitation program through September 30, 1988. Directs the Administrator of Veterans Affairs to monitor such program and make certain determinations concerning the success of such program. Directs the Administrator to maintain various records relating to costs incident to the program. Directs the Administrator, no later than February 1, 1988, to report to the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees on the experiences of such program during fiscal years 1984 through 1987, together with recommendations.

Terminates on September 30, 1988, the authority of the Administrator to contract for hospital care or medical services for veterans in Puerto Rico. Gradually phases out such contracting authority from FY 1986 through 1988.

Extends through September 30, 1989, eligibility for health care treatment to veterans exposed to certain toxic substances in Vietnam or to nuclear radiation.

Directs the Administrator, during the period beginning January 1, 1986, and ending September 30, 1988, to conduct a pilot program to provide and coordinate the following services to veterans: (1) counseling; (2) employment counseling, training, and placement; (3) services with respect to alcohol or drug dependence or abuse; and (4) follow-up services. Requires the Administrator, in carrying out such program, to designate as demonstration projects ten current readjustment counseling facilities to be known as Vietnam Veterans Resource Centers. Requires the Administrator to be responsible for the assignment and use of employees at such Centers, and the Secretary of Labor to provide personnel to the Administrator for such Centers.

Directs the Administrator, no later than April 1, 1987, to submit a report on such program to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives concerning the first 15 months of such program, and a final report on such program no later than January 1, 1989.

Authorizes the Administrator to furnish counseling to former prisoners of war.

Authorizes the Administrator to transfer from a hospital facility under the jurisdiction of the Veterans Administration (VA) to a non-VA nursing home certain veterans or members of the armed forces who require a protracted period of nursing home care. Permits such transfers only if such transfers result in a 50 percent cost savings over the cost of such care in a facility under VA jurisdiction. Limits to six months such nursing home care per veterans, with specified exceptions. Authorizes the Administrator to admit to a nursing home veterans who had been discharged from a hospital under the jurisdiction of the VA and are currently receiving home health care services from the VA. Sets guidelines for the determination of such nursing home admission. Defines "non-Veterans Administration nursing home" for purposes of this provision.

Directs the Chief Medical Director of the VA to develop improved procedures for notifying the Chief Benefits Director of the VA when a veteran is admitted to a nursing home. Directs the Administrator, 90 days after the enactment of this Act, to report to the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees on the implementation of such procedures.

Directs the Administrator, during the period beginning January 1, 1986, and ending December 31, 1988, to conduct a pilot program under which chiropractic services are furnished and evaluated in each of five geographic regions of the United States. Authorizes reimbursement to a veteran for chiropractic services received and paid for by such veteran if certain requirements are met concerning the veteran and the nature of his/her injury, to the extent that such veteran does not receive reimbursement under any other insurance, hospital, or medical plan. Directs the Administrator to: (1) obtain advice and recommendations from recognized neuromusculoskeletal authorities; and (2) ensure adequate chiropractor participation in the design and evaluation of such pilot program. Requires the Administrator to establish a schedule of reasonable charges for chiropractic services provided under such program. Limits the total expenditures under such program to $2,000,000 in any fiscal year. Directs the Administrator, no later than April 1, 1989, to report to the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees on the implementation, operation, and results of such pilot program. Outlines information to be included in such report.

Title II: Health-Care Administration - Authorizes the release to any person or entity of purely statistical information concerning VA health-care programs which do not implicitly or explicitly identify individual patients, employees, or individuals who participated in a medical quality-assurance review.

Increases from 15 to 25 the number of authorized VA centers for geriatric research.

Increases from one to two years the appointment period for graduate student nurses. Authorizes reappointment for one additional year for such students who are pursuing a full course of nursing in a recognized school of nursing.

Requires the Administrator to establish and conduct a comprehensive quality assurance program to monitor and evaluate the quality of health care furnished by the VA's Department of Medicine and Surgery. Outlines various evaluations required from the Chief Medical Director of such Department as part of such program. Requires the Inspector General of the VA to monitor such quality assurance program. Requires the Chief Medical Director to collect and maintain a compilation of mortality and morbidity standards for each type of surgical procedure conducted by the Department of Medicine and Surgery and to make certain comparisons, analyses, and evaluations concerning such compilation. Requires the Chief Medical Director, no later than February 1 of 1987, 1989, and 1991, to report to the Administrator on such quality assurance program. Requires the Administrator to provide the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees a copy of each report within 60 days of receipt by the Administrator.

Directs the Administrator, within 90 days after the enactment of this Act, to report to the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees a description of the VA's present and future plans for monitoring the credentials of VA health-care professionals. Outlines details to be included in such report.

Requires States applying for a State nursing home construction project to demonstrate adequate financial support for such project by July 1 of the fiscal year for which the application is approved. Directs the Administrator to defer approval of any such application which does not meet the July 1 deadline. Directs the Administrator to award nursing home construction grants under certain conditions.

Directs the Administrator, no later than April 1, 1986, to determine procedures to be followed in cases in which a reduction or revocation of the clinical privileges of VA employees are proposed. Directs the Administrator, no later than May 1, 1986, to report to the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees on the implementation of this provision.

Title III: Veterans' Administration Medical Facilities - Revises Federal provisions concerning prior congressional approval of certain medical facility acquisitions to prohibit construction of facilities which will cost more than $2,000,000 except as authorized by a law based on legislation reported from congressional committees. Requires identical approval for the leasing of any facility with an annual rental of more than $500,000.

Revises Federal provisions concerning reports to congressional committees on proposed medical facility construction projects to require each such report to contain: (1) a five-year plan for the construction and operation of such facilities; (2) a list of not less than ten hospitals determined to be in most need of such projects; and (3) general plans for each such facility. Requires such report on June 30 of each year.

Directs the Administrator, not later than one year after the enactment of this Act, to develop a modular approach to the planning and design of an appropriate VA medical facility.

Requires the Administrator, at the same time and with documents that are submitted pursuant to the budget request for FY 1987, to include the results of a feasibility study concerning the purchase for VA use of an urban medical facility which is suitable for furnishing both hospital and nursing home care services, and which meets the current and future needs of the VA for furnishing health care to eligible veterans. Directs the President to include in his budget request an amount appropriate for such a purpose. Prohibits this provision or any other provision under this Act from having the effect of making infeasible the construction, acquisition, or leasing of a medical facility in the Florida panhandle or the expansion of the Biloxi/Gulfport VA Medical Center.

Title IV: Miscellaneous Provisions - Increases the maximum amount of insurance available under the Servicemen's Group Life Insurance program and the Veterans' Group Life Insurance program. Makes members of the Individual Ready Reserve and the Inactive National Guard eligible for insurance under the Veterans' Group Life Insurance program.

Extends from October 31, 1985, to September 30, 1988, the authority of the VA to operate a regional office in the Philippines.

Prohibits the Administrator from implementing a systematic grade reduction for VA employees who are certain health-care personnel, certain professional employees, or computer specialists unless the Administrator first submits to the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees a detailed plan and justification for such reduction. Prohibits any grade reduction from occurring until 90 days after the receipt by the committees of such report. Requires the Comptroller General to report to such committees on the Administrator's compliance under this Act.

Transfers from the General Services Administration to the VA specified real property in Phoenix, Arizona.

Authorizes the Administrator to modify certain restrictions on land previously transferred to Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

Directs the Administrator to release a certain limitation on the use of specified real property in McKinney, Texas.

Makes certain modifications to use restrictions on real property transferred from the Administrator to the Armory Board, State of Utah. Transfers from the Administrator to such Armory Board title to a certain fence erected on such property.