H.R. 5286, the VA Construction and Lease Authorization, Health, and Benefits Enhancement Act

H.R. 5286

The VA Construction and Lease Authorization, Health, and Benefits Enhancement Act

Date
May 23, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Molly Newell

Floor Situation

On Monday, May 23, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 5286, the VA Construction and Lease Authorization, Health, and Benefits Enhancement Act, under suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on May 19, 2016, by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) and was referred to the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Armed Services Committee.

 

Bill Summary

H.R. 5286 contains several provisions to improve the care of veterans including:

  • authorizing the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to enter into Veterans Care Agreements with eligible providers to furnish hospital care, medical services, and extended care to veterans if the Secretary determines it is impractical or inadvisable to provide the care at VA facilities or under other existing contracts due to the medical condition of the veteran, the travel involved, or the nature of the care or services required.
  • improving the VA’s patient advocacy by requiring each VA medical facility hosts public community meetings on improving VA health care and by requiring the Secretary to improve awareness of the Patient Advocacy Program and the VA’s patient bill of rights.
  • requiring the Secretary to establish a pilot program no later than two years after enactment to assess the feasibility and advisability of using wellness-based programs to complement pain management and related health care services, including mental health care services, to veterans.
  • requiring the Secretary to select a VA medical center to serve as The National Center for research on the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions of descendants of individuals exposed to toxic substances while serving.
  • create a new subcategory of special monthly compensation to compensate veterans with the anatomical loss or permanent loss of use of a creative organ and authorize two payments of $10,000 each for qualified service-connected veterans
  • require VA to implement an information technology (IT) system to fully support the Family Caregiver Program, make a number of improvements to the Family Caregiver Program, and submit a report to Congress to include a detailed plan to expand eligibility for the Family Caregiver Program to caregivers of pre-9/11 veterans.

Additionally, H.R. 5286 authorizes certain major VA medical facility projects, requires additional documentation on the fitness of health care providers being considered for hire by the VA, and requires an audit of the Veterans Health Administration to identify ways to improve the furnishing of benefits and health care administration.

Background

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides an array of benefits to veterans and to certain members of their families. These benefits include disability compensation and pensions, education benefits, survivor benefits, medical treatment, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, and burial and memorial benefits.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently unavailable.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Molly Newell with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 2-1374.