Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S. 968 (is) To authorize the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency [Introduced in Senate] ...

S. 968 (is) To authorize the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency [Introduced in Senate] ...


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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                 S. 967

  To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to replace with a more 
equitable formula the current formula, known as the Veterans Equitable 
Resource Allocation (VERA), for the allocation of funds appropriated to 
   the Department of Veterans Affairs for medical care to different 
       geographic regions of the Nation, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                              May 1, 2003

  Mr. Schumer 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 replace with a more 
equitable formula the current formula, known as the Veterans Equitable 
Resource Allocation (VERA), for the allocation of funds appropriated to 
   the Department of Veterans Affairs for medical care to different 
       geographic regions of the Nation, 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. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Veterans Equal Treatment Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) The Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation (VERA) 
        formula, established by the Department of Veterans Affairs 
        pursuant to section 429 of the Departments of Veterans Affairs 
        and Housing and Urban Development, and Independent Agencies 
        Appropriations Act, 1997 (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.
            (2) The VERA formula has resulted in a system of 
        inequitable care at veterans hospitals in different regions of 
        the country.
            (3) The VERA formula has resulted in a system in which 
        veterans in some regions of the country are forced to compete 
        with veterans in other regions for critical medical care 
        funding, when the system should be providing funding for 
        medical care for all veterans, regardless of where they live, 
        to ensure that all veterans have access to the level and 
        quality of medical care that they have all earned and deserve.
            (4) The VERA formula should be replaced with a new funding 
        formula that puts the funds provided to the Department of 
        Veterans Affairs for medical care into the Department of 
        Veterans Affairs Medical Centers that are treating patients.

SEC. 3. REVISION TO MEDICAL CARE FUNDING ALLOCATION FORMULA FOR 
              DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) Termination of Vera Formula.--The funding allocation formula 
for the Department of Veterans Affairs medical care system known as the 
Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation system, established pursuant to 
section 429 of the Department of Veterans Affairs pursuant to section 
429 of the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban 
Development, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, 1997 (Public 
Law 104-204; 110 Stat. 2929), shall be discontinued by the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs effective at the end of the fiscal year during which 
this Act is enacted.
    (b) Development of Replacement Formula.--The Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs shall develop a new formula for the allocation of funds 
appropriated to the Department of Veterans Affairs for Medical Care to 
the national service regions, known as Veterans Integrated Service 
Networks (VISNs), of the Department. In developing such formula, the 
Secretary shall take the following requirements into account:
            (1) For any fiscal year for which the amount appropriated 
        for Medical Care is an increase from the preceding year, the 
        funding level provided under the new formula to any VISN may 
        not be less than the amount provided for the preceding year.
            (2) The new formula shall take into account additional 
        costs incurred by a VISN due to any of the following factors at 
        that VISN being in excess of the median for all VISNs:
                    (A) The number of veterans moving into the 
                geographic area of that VISN.
                    (B) The median age of veterans in that VISN.
                    (C) The number of veterans in that VISN requiring 
                complex care or nursing home care.
                    (D) The age of Department health care facilities in 
                that VISN.
    (c) Transition Formula.--If as of the date specified in subsection 
(a) for the termination of the funding allocation formula referred to 
in that subsection the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has not 
implemented a replacement funding allocation formula in accordance with 
subsection (b), then effective as of that date and until such 
replacement funding allocation formula is implemented, the funding 
allocation formula to be applied to amounts appropriated for veterans 
medical care shall be the formula in effect before the formula referred 
to in subsection (a).

SEC. 4. AUTHORIZATIONS OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) Authorization of Appropriations for Replacement Allocation 
Formula.--There is authorized to be appropriated to the Department of 
Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2004, $10,000,000 for development and 
implementation of a replacement funding allocation formula in 
accordance with section 3(b).
    (b) Additional Authorization of Appropriations for Medical Care.--
There is authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Veterans 
Affairs for fiscal year 2004, $100,000,000 for ``Medical Care'' for the 
Department of Veterans Affairs. Such amount is in addition to any other 
amount authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Veterans 
Affairs for fiscal year 2004 and shall be allocated by the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs to the national service regions, known as Veterans 
Integrated Service Networks (VISNs), of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs on the basis of need, as follows:
            (1) First, to the VISN that has experienced the greatest 
        reduction in funding from the funding levels for fiscal year 
        1997.
            (2) Second, to any other VISN that has experienced an 
        overall funding decrease during the six-fiscal-year period 
        beginning with fiscal year 1997.
            (3) Third, if any amount appropriated pursuant to such 
        authorization remains after allocations pursuant to paragraphs 
        (1) and (2), such amount shall be allocated equally among the 
        remaining 22 VISNs before implementation of the new formula.
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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