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S. 2064 (is) To amend the Missing Children's Assistance Act, to expand the purpose of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to cover individuals who are at least 18 but have not yet attained the age of 22. [Introduced in Senate] %%Filenam...


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108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2063

      To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a 
 demonstration project on priorities in the scheduling of appointments 
of veterans for health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs, 
                        and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           February 10, 2004

 Mr. Conrad (for himself, Mr. Graham of Florida, Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. 
 Akaka, and Mr. Johnson) introduced the following bill; which was read 
        twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
      To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a 
 demonstration project on priorities in the scheduling of appointments 
of veterans for health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs, 
                        and for other purposes.

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

SECTION 1. DEMONSTRATION PROJECT ON PRIORITIES IN SCHEDULING OF 
              APPOINTMENTS OF VETERANS FOR HEALTH CARE THROUGH THE 
              DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) Project Required.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
carry out a demonstration project to assess the feasibility and 
advisability of providing for priorities in the scheduling of 
appointments of veterans for health care through the Department of 
Veterans Affairs in accordance with the following:
            (1) The Department of Veterans Affairs Waiting Time for 
        Appointments goals (30-30-20) of 2000.
            (2) The provisions of the Veterans Health Administration 
        directive entitled ``Priority For Outpatient Medical Services 
        and Inpatient Hospital Care'' (VHA Directive 2002-059).
            (3) The provisions of the Veterans Health Administration 
        directive entitled ``Priority Scheduling for Outpatient Medical 
        Services and Inpatient Hospital Care for Service Connected 
        Veterans'' (VHA Directive 2003-062), dated October 23, 2003.
    (b) Period of Project.--The Secretary shall carry out the 
demonstration project during the two-year period beginning on October 
1, 2004.
    (c) Locations of Project.--(1) The Secretary shall carry out the 
demonstration project throughout each of three Veterans Integrated 
Service Networks (VISNs) selected by the Secretary for purposes of the 
project.
    (2) In selecting Veterans Integrated Service Networks under 
paragraph (1), the Secretary shall ensure that the project is carried 
out in urban, rural, and highly rural areas.
    (d) Project Requirements and Authorities.--(1) Except as provided 
in paragraphs (2) and (3), in carrying out the demonstration project 
the Secretary shall schedule appointments for veterans for outpatient 
medical services and inpatient hospital care through the Department in 
accordance with the goals and directives referred to in subsection (a).
    (2) The veterans covered by the demonstration project shall include 
any veterans residing in a Veterans Integrated Service Network covered 
by the project, whether new or current enrollees with the Department 
and including veterans with service-connected disabilities and veterans 
with non-service-connected disabilities.
    (3) The Secretary shall schedule each appointment under the 
demonstration project in a Department facility unless, as determined by 
the Secretary--
            (A) the cost of scheduling the appointment in a Department 
        facility exceeds the cost of scheduling the appointment in a 
        non-Department facility to an unreasonable degree; or
            (B) the scheduling of the appointment in a non-Department 
        facility is required for medical or other reasons.
    (4) In carrying out the demonstration project, the Secretary may 
utilize the Preferred Pricing Program (PPP) of the Department, or 
similar programs or authorities, in the locations covered by the 
project.
    (5) In this subsection, the terms ``Department facility'' and 
``non-Department facility'' have the meaning given such terms in 
section 1701 of title 38, United States Code.
    (e) Annual Reports on Waiting Times for Appointments for Care and 
Services.--(1) Not later than January 31 each year, the Secretary shall 
submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the 
House of Representatives a report on the waiting times of veterans for 
appointments for health care and services from the Department during 
the preceding year.
    (2) Each report under paragraph (1) shall specify, for the year 
covered by the report, the following:
            (A) A tabulation of the waiting time of veterans for 
        appointments with the Department for each category of primary 
        or specialty care or services furnished by the Department, 
        broken out by particular Department facility and by Veterans 
        Integrated Service Network.
            (B) An identification of the categories of specialty care 
        or services for which there are lengthy delays for appointments 
        at particular Department facilities or throughout particular 
        Veterans Integrated Service Networks, and, for each category so 
        identified, recommendations for the reallocation of personnel, 
        financial, and other resources to address such delays.
    (f) Report on Project.--The report under subsection (e) in 2007 
shall also include information on the demonstration project under this 
section. That information shall include--
            (1) a description of the project, including the Veterans 
        Integrated Service Networks selected for the project, the 
        number of veterans covered by the project, the number and 
        timeliness of appointments scheduled under the project, and the 
        costs of carrying out the project;
            (2) an assessment of the feasibility and advisability of 
        implementing the project nationwide; and
            (3) such other information with respect to the project as 
        the Secretary considers appropriate.
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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