Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 439 (eh) To amend chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code, popularly known as [Engrossed in House] ...

H.R. 439 (eh) To amend chapter 35 of title 44, United States Code, popularly known as [Engrossed in House] ...


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108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4399

 To establish certain conditions on the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
implementing any recommendation of the CARES Commission that would have 
  the effect of eliminating or severely reducing any medical service 
  provided to veterans throughout the United States at Department of 
                  Veterans Affairs medical facilities.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                              May 19, 2004

  Mrs. Kelly introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                     Committee on Veterans' Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To establish certain conditions on the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
implementing any recommendation of the CARES Commission that would have 
  the effect of eliminating or severely reducing any medical service 
  provided to veterans throughout the United States at Department of 
                  Veterans Affairs medical facilities.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Securing Access to Vital 
Entitlements for U.S. Veterans Act'' or the ``SAVE US VETS Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Veterans have sacrificed tremendously on behalf of 
        their Nation and deserve the best quality health care and 
        benefits that were promised to them by their country.
            (2) The Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation (VERA) 
        formula, established by the Department of Veterans Affairs 
        pursuant to section 429 of the fiscal year 1997 VA/HUD 
        appropriations Act (Public Law 104-204; 110 Stat. 2929), has 
        proved to be an ineffective means of allocating veterans 
        medical care dollars fairly across the 22 national service 
        regions, known as Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs), 
        of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
            (3) A study by the General Accounting Office released in 
        February 2002 found weaknesses in the Department's 
        implementation of VERA, such as the omission of about 20 
        percent of VA's workload in formulating each network's 
        allocation and VERA's lack of accounting for the cost of 
        differences among networks resulting from variation in their 
        patients' health care needs as well as it could, which 
        ``compromise VERA's ability to allocate comparable resources 
        for comparable workloads''.
            (4) The same General Accounting Office study found that 
        failure to implement the General Accounting Office's 
        recommendations has resulted in the misallocation of 
        $200,000,000 annually by the Department and $920,000,000 that 
        would otherwise have been awarded to veterans health care 
        facilities in the northeast and was instead granted to the 
        south and southwest.
            (5) In May of 2004, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
        announced the Secretary's decision with respect to 
        implementation of recommendations of the commission established 
        by the Secretary on December 22, 2003, known as the Department 
        of Veterans Affairs Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced 
        Services Commission (or the CARES Commission).
            (6) That May 2004 decision of the Secretary of Veterans 
        Affairs would diminish veterans' health care options by 
        breaking promises and pushing deserving veterans away from the 
        veterans health facilities designed and built to provide care 
        and treatment to the veterans who have suffered on the 
        battlefield.
            (7) The CARES Commission failed to include mental health as 
        part of its criteria during its completion of its February 2004 
        report to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
            (8) The May 2004 decision of the Secretary of Veterans 
        Affairs to move acute and long-term psychiatry beds, without 
        proper and sufficient data on mental health of the affected 
        veterans, is premature and ill-conceived.
            (9) The consolidation of services, closing of hospitals, 
        and removal of services, which the Secretary of Veterans 
        Affairs claims will ``enhance patient care'', will only worsen 
        and decrease services available to the Nation's veterans.

SEC. 3. LIMITATION ON THE SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS IMPLEMENTING 
              CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CARES COMMISSION.

    (a) Limitation.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may not 
implement any recommendation of the CARES Commission described in 
subsection (b) until the health care funding allocation system for the 
Veterans Health Administration in effect on the date of the enactment 
of this Act, known as VERA (Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation), is 
replaced with a new, more equitable formula for the allocation of funds 
appropriated to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
    (b) Covered Recommendations.--This section applies to any 
recommendation of the CARES Commission that is contained in the report 
of that commission dated February 2004 and that would have the effect 
of eliminating or severely reducing a medical service provided to 
veterans throughout the United States at Department of Veterans Affairs 
medical facilities.
    (c) CARES Commission.--In this section, the term ``CARES 
Commission'' means the commission established by the Secretary on 
December 22, 2003, known as the Department of Veterans Affairs Capital 
Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services Commission.
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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