CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, September 12 2016, the House will consider H.R. 5936, the Veterans Care Agreement and West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 5936, as amended, was introduced on September 6, 2016, by Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) and was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
H.R. 5936, as amended, would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), for one year until September 30, 2017, to enter into provider agreements with certain providers to deliver hospital care, medical services, or extended (nursing home) care to veteran patients when VA facilities, traditional Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) based contracts, or medical sharing agreements are impractical or inadvisable. It would also authorize to carry out certain leases on the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System West LA Medical Center (VAMC) campus in Los Angeles, California, and prohibit VA from entering into any land-sharing agreements unless the agreements provide additional healthcare resources and benefit veterans and their families in ways other than generating additional revenue.
The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 provided limited provider agreement authority to VA and Secretary McDonald has made broader provider agreement legislation the Department’s highest legislation priority this year. Provider agreements allow VA to work with small providers – particularly those in rural areas – who have the ability and willingness to provide high-quality care to veteran patients but cannot compete for and abide by the burdensome requirements of Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) based contracts.
The West LA campus was deeded to the Department in the 1888 to serve as a home for disabled veterans. P.L. 102-590, the Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Service Programs Act of 1992, gave the VA the authority to lease property at the West Lost Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center. VA subsequently provided lease space on the West LA campus to UCLA, the Brentwood School, and other entities. In 2011, the ACLU of Southern California filed a lawsuit (Valentini v. McDonald) on behalf of homeless veterans with severe disabilities alleging misuse of the 387-acre West LA campus. In August 2013, the Court ruled that VA had violated federal law when it leased portions of the West L.A. campus to 11 businesses and organizations for purposes unrelated to providing medical care or treatment for homeless and disabled veterans. In January 2015, VA and attorneys representing homeless veterans in Los Angeles announced an agreement to lead the launch of a new master plan for West Los Angeles VA Campus to serve veterans in need and agreed to pursue dismissal of the lawsuit.
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently not available.
For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.