House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health Reviews Legislation

The Subcommittee on Health reviewed the following bills:

H.R. 2770, Veterans Nonprofit Research and Education Corporations Enhancement Act of 2009 (Filner, D-CA) - H.R. 2770 would augment and improve Nonprofit Research Corporations (NPC), which support research programs conducted by VA medical centers. NPCs would be given more authorization and accountability in the development of innovative new health care technologies, medication, and practices.
H.R. 1293, Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act of 2009 (Buyer, R-IN) - H.R. 1293 would increase the amount paid by VA for home improvements and structural alterations for veterans with service-connected disabilities of 50% or more from $4,100 to $6,800. The bill would also increase the amount for veterans with service-connected disabilities of less than 50%, and certain other veterans, from $1,200 to $2,000.
H.R. 1197, Medal of Honor Health Care Equity Act of 2009 (Mitchell, D-AZ) - H.R. 1197 would give priority status to Medal of Honor recipients. The status is equal to the status of former prisoners of war or Purple Heart recipients with respect to the provision of veterans' hospital care and medical services provided through the VA.
H.R. 1302, To establish the position of Director of Physical Assistant Services within the office of the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health. (Hare, D-IL) - H.R. 1302 establishes the position of Director of Physical Assistant Services within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) at the VA. The Director must report to the VHA’s Under Secretary for Health on all matters relating to the education and training, employment, utilization, and participation of physician assistants within VHA programs and initiatives.
H.R. 1335, To prohibit the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from collecting certain copayments from veterans who are catastrophically disabled. (Halvorson, D-IL) - H.R. 1335 prohibits the VA from collecting copayments or other fees for hospital or nursing home care from veterans who are catastrophically disabled.
H.R. 1546, Caring for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 2009 (McNerney, D-CA) - H.R. 1546 directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish the Committee on Care of Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury within the VHA. The committee will continually assess VHA’s capability to meet the treatment and rehabilitation needs of veterans with traumatic brain injuries. The Secretary must submit an annual report to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives by no later than June 1, 2010.
H.R. 2734, Health Care for Family Caregivers Act of 2009 (Perriello, D-VA) - H.R. 2734 provides medical care for family members who serve as caregivers to disabled veterans. As a result of the bill, a family caregiver will not be subject to deductibles, premiums, copayments, cost-sharing, or other fees for their own personal medical care.
H.R. 2738, To provide travel expenses for family caregivers accompanying veterans to medical treatment facilities. (Teague, D-NM) H.R. 2738 expands VA’s authority to make lodging and subsistence payments for family caregivers who accompany veterans traveling for health care evaluation and treatments at VA facilities. The Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs will have the authority to limit the number of caregivers traveling and to require the use of certain travel services.
H.R. 2898, Wounded Warrior Caregiver Assistance Act (Halvorson, D-IL) H.R. 2898 provides comprehensive services and support to help family caregivers cope with the stress of caregivers. The bill requires the VA to provide direct training to family caregivers, at their request, on how to best care for veterans.
Members of the Subcommittee also reviewed two pieces of draft legislation, which have not yet been introduced. One draft bill addresses hospital care, medical care, and nursing home care for Vietnam-era and Persian Gulf War veterans. The other would require VA to collect annual data on the number of family caregivers of veterans.

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