CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 5953 is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Tuesday, November 30, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.R. 5953 was introduced on July 29, 2010 by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) and referred to the Committee on Veterans Affairs.
H.R. 5953 incorporates language from H.R. 5428, which was introduced on May 27, 2010 by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) and referred to the Committee on Veterans Affairs.
The legislation would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to ensure that the Women Veterans Bill of Rights is displayed prominently in each VA facility and distributed widely to women veterans. The bill would enumerate women veterans health care “rights” such as the right to the following:
(1) Coordinated, comprehensive, primary women's health care at every VA medical facility;
(2) Be treated with dignity and respect;
(3) Innovative care delivery;
(4) Treatment by clinicians with specific training and experience in women's health issues;
(5) Enhanced capabilities of medical providers to meet unique needs; and
(6) Gender equity in access to and the provision of clinical health care services;
The bill would also require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish and display prominently an Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights to include such “rights” as the following:
(1) Access the highest quality prosthetic and orthotic care;
(2) Continuity of care in the transition from the Department of Defense health program to the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system; and
(3) Select the practitioner that best meets their prosthetic and orthotic needs, including a private practitioner with specialized expertise;
Some members may be concerned that, according to testimony from the VA, this legislation would confer special rights upon a limited group of veterans, leading to inconsistent and inequitable patient care provided to veterans as a group. Additionally, some members may be concerned that the “right” to seek private medical treatment could mislead veterans to believe they are entitled to receive services from a non-VA practitioner, which could preclude VA quality assurance and result in personal financial liability for the veteran if the VA is not authorized to incur the expense of that treatment.
The bill would also require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct employee education regarding the Women Veterans Bill of Rights and the Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights, in addition to requiring the Secretary to conduct outreach to relevant groups of veterans.
There is no CBO cost estimate for this legislation.