[USC02] 38 USC PART V, CHAPTER 73, SUBCHAPTER II: GENERAL AUTHORITY AND ADMINISTRATION
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38 USC PART V, CHAPTER 73, SUBCHAPTER II: GENERAL AUTHORITY AND ADMINISTRATION
From Title 38—VETERANS' BENEFITSPART V—BOARDS, ADMINISTRATIONS, AND SERVICESCHAPTER 73—VETERANS HEALTH ADMINISTRATION-ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTIONS

SUBCHAPTER II—GENERAL AUTHORITY AND ADMINISTRATION

Prior Provisions

A prior subchapter II of this chapter consisting of sections 4121 to 4124, related to Regional Medical Education Centers, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §401(a)(3), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 210. See Prior Provisions notes set out under section 4114 of this title.

§7311. Quality assurance

(a) The Secretary shall—

(1) establish and conduct a comprehensive program to monitor and evaluate the quality of health care furnished by the Veterans Health Administration (hereinafter in this section referred to as the "quality-assurance program"); and

(2) delineate the responsibilities of the Under Secretary for Health with respect to the quality-assurance program, including the duties prescribed in this section.


(b)(1) As part of the quality-assurance program, the Under Secretary for Health shall periodically evaluate—

(A) whether there are significant deviations in mortality and morbidity rates for surgical procedures performed by the Administration from prevailing national mortality and morbidity standards for similar procedures; and

(B) if there are such deviations, whether they indicate deficiencies in the quality of health care provided by the Administration.


(2) The evaluation under paragraph (1)(A) shall be made using the information compiled under subsection (c)(1). The evaluation under paragraph (1)(B) shall be made taking into account the factors described in subsection (c)(2)(B).

(3) If, based upon an evaluation under paragraph (1)(A), the Under Secretary for Health determines that there is a deviation referred to in that paragraph, the Under Secretary for Health shall explain the deviation in the report submitted under subsection (f).1

(4) As part of the quality-assurance program, the Under Secretary for Health shall establish mechanisms through which employees of Veterans Health Administration facilities may submit reports, on a confidential basis, on matters relating to quality of care in Veterans Health Administration facilities to the quality management officers of such facilities under section 7311A(c) of this title. The mechanisms shall provide for the prompt and thorough review of any reports so submitted by the receiving officials.

(c)(1) The Under Secretary for Health shall—

(A) determine the prevailing national mortality and morbidity standards for each type of surgical procedure performed by the Administration; and

(B) collect data and other information on mortality and morbidity rates in the Administration for each type of surgical procedure performed by the Administration and (with respect to each such procedure) compile the data and other information so collected—

(i) for each medical facility of the Department, in the case of cardiac surgery, heart transplant, and renal transplant programs; and

(ii) in the aggregate, for each other type of surgical procedure.


(2) The Under Secretary for Health shall—

(A) compare the mortality and morbidity rates compiled under paragraph (1)(B) with the national mortality and morbidity standards determined under paragraph (1)(A); and

(B) analyze any deviation between such rates and such standards in terms of the following:

(i) The characteristics of the respective patient populations.

(ii) The level of risk for the procedure involved, based on—

(I) patient age;

(II) the type and severity of the disease;

(III) the effect of any complicating diseases; and

(IV) the degree of difficulty of the procedure.


(iii) Any other factor that the Under Secretary for Health considers appropriate.


(d) Based on the information compiled and the comparisons, analyses, evaluations, and explanations made under subsections (b) and (c), the Under Secretary for Health, in the report under subsection (f),1 shall make such recommendations with respect to quality assurance as the Under Secretary for Health considers appropriate.

(e)(1) The Secretary shall allocate sufficient resources (including sufficient personnel with the necessary skills and qualifications) to enable the Administration to carry out its responsibilities under this section.

(2) The Inspector General of the Department shall allocate sufficient resources (including sufficient personnel with the necessary skills and qualifications) to enable the Inspector General to monitor the quality-assurance program.

(Added Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §401(a)(3), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 214; amended Pub. L. 102–405, title III, §302(c)(1), Oct. 9, 1992, 106 Stat. 1984; Pub. L. 103–446, title XII, §1201(g)(5), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4687; Pub. L. 111–163, title V, §505(b), May 5, 2010, 124 Stat. 1159.)

References in Text

Subsection (f), referred to in subsecs. (b)(3) and (d), was repealed by Pub. L. 103–446, title XII, §1201(g)(5), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4687.

Amendments

2010—Subsec. (b)(4). Pub. L. 111–163 added par. (4).

1994—Subsecs. (f), (g). Pub. L. 103–446 struck out subsecs. (f) and (g) which read as follows:

"(f)(1) Not later than February 1, 1991, the Under Secretary for Health shall submit to the Secretary a report on the experience through the end of the preceding fiscal year under the quality-assurance program carried out under this section.

"(2) Such report shall include—

"(A) the data and other information compiled and the comparisons, analyses, and evaluations made under subsections (b) and (c) with respect to the period covered by the report; and

"(B) recommendations under subsection (d).

"(g)(1) Not later than 60 days after receiving such report, the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a copy of the report, together with any comment concerning the report that the Secretary considers appropriate.

"(2) A report submitted under paragraph (1) shall not be considered to be a record or document as described in section 5705(a) of this title."

1992—Subsecs. (a) to (d), (f). Pub. L. 102–405 substituted "Under Secretary for Health" for "Chief Medical Director" wherever appearing.

Comprehensive Policy on Pain Management

Pub. L. 110–387, title V, §501, Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4130, provided that:

"(a) Comprehensive Policy Required.—Not later than October 1, 2009, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall develop and implement a comprehensive policy on the management of pain experienced by veterans enrolled for health care services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"(b) Scope of Policy.—The policy required by subsection (a) shall cover each of the following:

"(1) The Department-wide management of acute and chronic pain experienced by veterans.

"(2) The standard of care for pain management to be used throughout the Department.

"(3) The consistent application of pain assessments to be used throughout the Department.

"(4) The assurance of prompt and appropriate pain care treatment and management by the Department, system-wide, when medically necessary.

"(5) Department programs of research related to acute and chronic pain suffered by veterans, including pain attributable to central and peripheral nervous system damage characteristic of injuries incurred in modern warfare.

"(6) Department programs of pain care education and training for health care personnel of the Department.

"(7) Department programs of patient education for veterans suffering from acute or chronic pain and their families.

"(c) Updates.—The Secretary shall revise the policy required by subsection (a) on a periodic basis in accordance with experience and evolving best practice guidelines.

"(d) Consultation.—The Secretary shall develop the policy required by subsection (a), and revise such policy under subsection (c), in consultation with veterans service organizations and organizations with expertise in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and management of pain.

"(e) Annual Report.—

"(1) In general.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the completion and initial implementation of the policy required by subsection (a) and on October 1 of every fiscal year thereafter through fiscal year 2018, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report on the implementation of the policy required by subsection (a).

"(2) Contents.—The report required by paragraph (1) shall include the following:

"(A) A description of the policy developed and implemented under subsection (a) and any revisions to such policy under subsection (c).

"(B) A description of the performance measures used to determine the effectiveness of such policy in improving pain care for veterans system-wide.

"(C) An assessment of the adequacy of Department pain management services based on a survey of patients managed in Department clinics.

"(D) An assessment of the research projects of the Department relevant to the treatment of the types of acute and chronic pain suffered by veterans.

"(E) An assessment of the training provided to Department health care personnel with respect to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of acute and chronic pain.

"(F) An assessment of the patient pain care education programs of the Department.

"(f) Veterans Service Organization Defined.—In this section, the term 'veterans service organization' means any organization recognized by the Secretary for the representation of veterans under section 5902 of title 38, United States Code."

Evaluation of Department of Veterans Affairs Nurse Managed Clinics

Pub. L. 107–135, title I, §123, Jan. 23, 2002, 115 Stat. 2451, required the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to evaluate the efficacy of the nurse managed health care clinics of the Department of Veterans Affairs and submit to Congress a report on the evaluation not later than 18 months after Jan. 23, 2002.

Quality Assurance Activities

Pub. L. 102–405, title I, §104, Oct. 9, 1992, 106 Stat. 1975, provided that: "Effective on October 1, 1992, programs and activities which (1) the Secretary carries out pursuant to section 7311(a) of title 38, United States Code, or (2) are described in sections 201(a)(1) and 201(a)(3) of Public Law 100–322 [formerly set out as a note under former section 4151 of this title] (102 Stat. 508) shall be deemed to be part of the operation of hospitals, nursing homes, and domiciliary facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs, without regard to the location of the duty stations of employees carrying out those programs and activities."

Regulations for Standards of Performance in Laboratories

Pub. L. 102–139, title I, §101, Oct. 28, 1991, 105 Stat. 742, provided that:

"(a) Regulations for Standards of Performance in Department of Veterans Affairs Laboratories.—(1) Within the 120-day period beginning on the date on which the Secretary of Health and Human Services promulgates final regulations to implement the standards required by section 353 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 263a), the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in accordance with the Secretary's authority under title 38, United States Code, shall prescribe regulations to assure consistent performance by medical facility laboratories under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of valid and reliable laboratory examinations and other procedures. Such regulations shall be prescribed in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and shall establish standards equal to that applicable to other medical facility laboratories in accordance with the requirements of section 353(f) of the Public Health Service Act.

"(2) Such regulations—

"(A) may include appropriate provisions respecting waivers described in section 353(d) of such Act and accreditations described in section 353(e) of such Act; and

"(B) shall include appropriate provisions respecting compliance with such requirements.

"(b) Report.—Within the 180-day period beginning on the date on which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs prescribes regulations required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of the Congress a report on those regulations.

"(c) Definition.—As used in this section, the term 'medical facility laboratories' means facilities for the biological, micro-biological, serological, chemical, immunohematological, hematological, biophysical, cytological, pathological, or other physical examination of materials derived from the human body for the purpose of providing information for the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of any disease or impairment of, or the assessment of the health of, human beings."

1 See References in Text note below.

§7311A. Quality management officers

(a) National Quality Management Officer.—(1) The Under Secretary for Health shall designate an official of the Veterans Health Administration to act as the principal quality management officer for the quality-assurance program required by section 7311 of this title. The official so designated may be known as the "National Quality Management Officer of the Veterans Health Administration" (in this section referred to as the "National Quality Management Officer").

(2) The National Quality Management Officer shall report directly to the Under Secretary for Health in the discharge of responsibilities and duties of the Officer under this section.

(3) The National Quality Management Officer shall be the official within the Veterans Health Administration who is principally responsible for the quality-assurance program referred to in paragraph (1). In carrying out that responsibility, the Officer shall be responsible for the following:

(A) Establishing and enforcing the requirements of the program referred to in paragraph (1).

(B) Developing an aggregate quality metric from existing data sources, such as the Inpatient Evaluation Center of the Department, the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, and the External Peer Review Program of the Veterans Health Administration, that could be used to assess reliably the quality of care provided at individual Department medical centers and associated community based outpatient clinics.

(C) Ensuring that existing measures of quality, including measures from the Inpatient Evaluation Center, the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, System-Wide Ongoing Assessment and Review reports of the Department, and Combined Assessment Program reviews of the Office of Inspector General of the Department, are monitored routinely and analyzed in a manner that ensures the timely detection of quality of care issues.

(D) Encouraging research and development in the area of quality metrics for the purposes of improving how the Department measures quality in individual facilities.

(E) Carrying out such other responsibilities and duties relating to quality management in the Veterans Health Administration as the Under Secretary for Health shall specify.


(4) The requirements under paragraph (3) shall include requirements regarding the following:

(A) A confidential system for the submittal of reports by Veterans Health Administration personnel regarding quality management at Department facilities.

(B) Mechanisms for the peer review of the actions of individuals appointed in the Veterans Health Administration in the position of physician.


(b) Quality Management Officers for VISNs.—(1) The Regional Director of each Veterans Integrated Services Network shall appoint an official of the Network to act as the quality management officer of the Network.

(2) The quality management officer for a Veterans Integrated Services Network shall report to the Regional Director of the Veterans Integrated Services Network, and to the National Quality Management Officer, regarding the discharge of the responsibilities and duties of the officer under this section.

(3) The quality management officer for a Veterans Integrated Services Network shall—

(A) direct the quality management office in the Network; and

(B) coordinate, monitor, and oversee the quality management programs and activities of the Administration medical facilities in the Network in order to ensure the thorough and uniform discharge of quality management requirements under such programs and activities throughout such facilities.


(c) Quality Management Officers for Medical Facilities.—(1) The director of each Veterans Health Administration medical facility shall appoint a quality management officer for that facility.

(2) The quality management officer for a facility shall report directly to the director of the facility, and to the quality management officer of the Veterans Integrated Services Network in which the facility is located, regarding the discharge of the responsibilities and duties of the quality management officer under this section.

(3) The quality management officer for a facility shall be responsible for designing, disseminating, and implementing quality management programs and activities for the facility that meet the requirements established by the National Quality Management Officer under subsection (a).

(d) Authorization of Appropriations.—(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

(2) There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out the provisions of subparagraphs (B), (C), and (D) of subsection (a)(3), $25,000,000 for the two-year period of fiscal years beginning after the date of the enactment of this section.

(Added Pub. L. 111–163, title V, §505(a)(1), May 5, 2010, 124 Stat. 1158.)

References in Text

The date of the enactment of this section, referred to in subsec. (d)(2), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 111–163, which was approved May 5, 2010.

§7312. Special medical advisory group

(a) The Secretary shall establish an advisory committee to be known as the special medical advisory group. The advisory group shall advise the Secretary, through the Under Secretary for Health, and the Under Secretary for Health directly, relative to the care and treatment of disabled veterans and other matters pertinent to the Administration.

(b) Members of the special medical advisory group shall be appointed by the Secretary upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health. The special medical advisory group shall be composed of—

(1) members of the medical, dental, podiatric, optometric, and allied scientific professions;

(2) other individuals considered by the Under Secretary for Health to have experience pertinent to the mission of the Administration; and

(3) a disabled veteran.


(c) The special medical advisory group shall meet on a regular basis as prescribed by the Secretary. The number, terms of service, pay, and allowances of members of the advisory group shall be prescribed in accordance with existing law and regulations.

(d) Not later than February 1 of each year, the special medical advisory group shall submit to the Secretary and the Congress a report on the activities of the advisory group during the preceding fiscal year. No report shall be required under this subsection after December 31, 2004.

(Added Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §401(a)(3), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 215; amended Pub. L. 102–405, title III, §302(c)(1), Oct. 9, 1992, 106 Stat. 1984; Pub. L. 103–446, title XII, §1201(e)(20), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4686; Pub. L. 106–419, title IV, §403(c)(5), Nov. 1, 2000, 114 Stat. 1864.)

Amendments

2000—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 106–419 inserted at end "No report shall be required under this subsection after December 31, 2004."

1994—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 103–446 substituted "the activities of the advisory group" for "the advisory groups activities".

1992—Subsecs. (a), (b). Pub. L. 102–405 substituted "Under Secretary for Health" for "Chief Medical Director" wherever appearing.

§7313. Advisory committees: affiliated institutions

(a) In each case where the Secretary has a contract or agreement with any school, institution of higher learning, medical center, hospital, or other public or nonprofit agency, institution, or organization for the training or education of health personnel, the Secretary shall establish an advisory committee to advise the Secretary and the Under Secretary for Health with respect to policy matters arising in connection with, and the operation of, the program with respect to which it was appointed. Such a committee may be a dean's committee, a medical advisory committee, or the like.

(b) Any such advisory committee may be established on an institution-wide, multi-disciplinary basis or on a regional basis whenever establishment on such a basis is found to be feasible.

(c) Members of each such advisory committee shall be appointed by the Secretary and shall include personnel of the Department (including appropriate representation from the full-time staff) and of the entity with which the Secretary has entered into the contract or agreement. The number of members, and terms of members, of each advisory committee shall be prescribed by the Secretary.

(d) The Secretary shall require that the Chief of the Nursing Service (or the designee of the Chief) at each Department health-care facility be included in the membership of each policymaking committee at that facility. Such committees include: (1) committees relating to matters such as budget, education, position management, clinical executive issues, planning, and resource allocation, and (2) the dean's committee or other advisory committee established under subsection (a).

(Added Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §401(a)(3), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 216; amended Pub. L. 102–405, title III, §302(c)(1), Oct. 9, 1992, 106 Stat. 1984.)

Amendments

1992—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 102–405 substituted "Under Secretary for Health" for "Chief Medical Director".

§7314. Geriatric research, education, and clinical centers

(a) The Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health and pursuant to the provisions of this section, shall designate not more than 25 Department health-care facilities as the locations for centers of geriatric research, education, and clinical activities and (subject to the appropriation of sufficient funds for such purpose) shall establish and operate such centers at such locations in accordance with this section.

(b) In designating locations for centers under subsection (a), the Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, shall—

(1) designate each Department health-care facility that as of August 26, 1980, was operating a geriatric research, education, and clinical center unless (on the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health) the Secretary determines that such facility does not meet the requirements of subsection (c) or has not demonstrated effectiveness in carrying out the established purposes of such center or the purposes of title III of the Veterans' Administration Health-Care Amendments of 1980 (Public Law 96–330; 94 Stat. 1048) or the potential to carry out such purposes effectively in the reasonably foreseeable future; and

(2) assure appropriate geographic distribution of such facilities.


(c) The Secretary may not designate a health-care facility as a location for a center under subsection (a) unless the peer review panel established under subsection (d) has determined under that subsection that the proposal submitted by such facility as a location for a new center under subsection (a) is among those proposals which have met the highest competitive standards of scientific and clinical merit, and the Secretary (upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health) determines that the facility has (or may reasonably be anticipated to develop) each of the following:

(1) An arrangement with an accredited medical school which provides education and training in geriatrics and with which such facility is affiliated under which residents receive education and training in geriatrics through regular rotation through such center and through nursing home, extended care, or domiciliary units of such facility so as to provide such residents with training in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases of older individuals, including cardiopulmonary conditions, senile dementia, and neurological disorders.

(2) An arrangement under which nursing or allied health personnel receive training and education in geriatrics through regular rotation through nursing home, extended care, or domiciliary units of such facility.

(3) The ability to attract the participation of scientists who are capable of ingenuity and creativity in health-care research efforts.

(4) A policymaking advisory committee composed of appropriate health-care and research representatives of the facility and of the affiliated school or schools to advise the directors of such facility and such center on policy matters pertaining to the activities of such center during the period of the operation of such center.

(5) The capability to conduct effectively evaluations of the activities of such center.


(d)(1) In order to provide advice to assist the Secretary and the Under Secretary for Health in carrying out their responsibilities under this section, the Assistant Under Secretary for Health described in section 7306(b)(3) of this title shall establish a panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals that are submitted to the Secretary for the establishment of new centers under this section.

(2) The membership of the panel shall consist of experts in the fields of geriatric and gerontological research, education, and clinical care. Members of the panel shall serve as consultants to the Department for a period of no longer than six months.

(3) The panel shall review each proposal submitted to the panel by the Assistant Under Secretary and shall submit its views on the relative scientific and clinical merit of each such proposal to the Assistant Under Secretary.

(4) The panel shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

(e) Before providing funds for the operation of any such center at a health-care facility other than a health-care facility designated under subsection (b)(1), the Secretary shall assure that the center at each facility designated under such subsection is receiving adequate funding to enable such center to function effectively in the areas of geriatric research, education, and clinical activities.

(f) There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for the support of the research and education activities of the centers established pursuant to subsection (a). The Under Secretary for Health shall allocate to such centers from other funds appropriated generally for the Department medical services account and medical and prosthetics research account, as appropriate, such amounts as the Under Secretary for Health determines appropriate.

(g) Activities of clinical and scientific investigation at each center established under subsection (a) shall be eligible to compete for the award of funding from funds appropriated for the Department medical and prosthetics research account and shall receive priority in the award of funding from such account insofar as funds are awarded to projects for research in geriatrics and gerontology.

(Added Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §401(a)(3), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 216; amended Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 404; Pub. L. 102–405, title III, §302(c)(1), Oct. 9, 1992, 106 Stat. 1984; Pub. L. 102–585, title V, §521, Nov. 4, 1992, 106 Stat. 4958; Pub. L. 103–446, title XII, §§1201(c)(4), 1202(b)(2), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4683, 4689; Pub. L. 110–387, title IX, §901(a)(8), Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4142.)

References in Text

The Veterans' Administration Health-Care Amendments of 1980, referred to in subsec. (b)(1), is Pub. L. 96–330, Aug. 26, 1980, 94 Stat. 1030. Title III of the Act amended former sections 4101 and 4103 of this title and enacted provisions set out as notes below and under former section 4101 of this title. For the purposes of title III, see section 301 of Pub. L. 96–330, set out below. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title of 1980 Amendment note set out under section 101 of this title and Tables.

The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (d)(4), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Amendments

2008—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 110–387 substituted "medical services account" for "medical care account".

1994—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 103–446, §1202(b)(2), amended Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), to make it inapplicable to this section. See 1991 Amendment note below.

Subsec. (d)(1). Pub. L. 103–446, §1201(c)(4)(A), substituted "the Secretary and the Under Secretary for Health in carrying out" for "the Chief Medical Director and the Secretary to carry out" and "the Assistant Under Secretary for Health described in section 7306(b)(3)" for "the Assistant Chief Medical Director described in section 7306(b)(3)".

Subsec. (d)(3). Pub. L. 103–446, §1201(c)(4)(B), substituted "Assistant Under Secretary" for "Assistant Chief Medical Director" in two places.

1992—Subsecs. (a), (b). Pub. L. 102–405 substituted "Under Secretary for Health" for "Chief Medical Director" wherever appearing.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 102–585, §521(1), inserted "the peer review panel established under subsection (d) has determined under that subsection that the proposal submitted by such facility as a location for a new center under subsection (a) is among those proposals which have met the highest competitive standards of scientific and clinical merit, and" after "unless" in introductory provisions.

Pub. L. 102–405 substituted "Under Secretary for Health" for "Chief Medical Director" in introductory provisions.

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 102–585, §521(3), added subsec. (d). Former subsec. (d) redesignated (e).

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 102–585, §521(2), redesignated subsec. (d) as (e). Former subsec. (e) redesignated (f).

Pub. L. 102–405 substituted "Under Secretary for Health" for "Chief Medical Director" in two places.

Subsecs. (f), (g). Pub. L. 102–585, §521(2), redesignated subsecs. (e) and (f) as (f) and (g), respectively.

1991—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), which directed substitution of "Department" for "Veterans' Administration", was amended by Pub. L. 103–446, §1202(b)(2), to make it inapplicable to this section.

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Pub. L. 103–446, title XII, §1202(b), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4689, provided that the amendment made by that section is effective Aug. 6, 1991, and as if included in the enactment of Pub. L. 102–83.

Congressional Declaration of Purpose in Creating Centers of Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Activities

Pub. L. 96–330, title III, §301, Aug. 26, 1980, 94 Stat. 1048, provided that: "The purposes of this title [see Tables for classification] are (1) to improve and expand the capability of Veterans' Administration [now Department of Veterans Affairs] health-care facilities to respond with the most effective and appropriate services possible to the medical, psychological and social needs of the increasing number of older veterans, and (2) to advance scientific knowledge regarding such needs and the methods of meeting them by facilitating higher quality geriatric care for eligible older veterans through geriatric and gerontological research, the training of health personnel in the provision of health care to older individuals, and the development of improved models of clinical services for eligible older veterans."

§7315. Geriatrics and Gerontology Advisory Committee

(a) The Secretary shall establish in the Veterans Health Administration a Geriatrics and Gerontology Advisory Committee (hereinafter in this section referred to as the "Committee"). The membership of the Committee shall be appointed by the Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, and shall include individuals who are not employees of the Federal Government and who have demonstrated interest and expertise in research, education, and clinical activities related to aging and at least one representative of a national veterans service organization. The Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, shall invite representatives of other appropriate departments and agencies of the United States to participate in the activities of the Committee and shall provide the Committee with such staff and other support as may be necessary for the Committee to carry out effectively its functions under this section.

(b) The Committee shall—

(1) advise the Under Secretary for Health on all matters pertaining to geriatrics and gerontology;

(2) assess, through an evaluation process (including a site visit conducted not later than three years after the date of the establishment of each new center and not later than two years after the date of the last evaluation of those centers in operation on August 26, 1980), the ability of each center established under section 7314 of this title to achieve its established purposes and the purposes of title III of the Veterans' Administration Health-Care Amendments of 1980 (Public Law 96–330; 94 Stat. 1048);

(3) assess the capability of the Department to provide high quality geriatric services, extended services, and other health-care services to eligible older veterans, taking into consideration the likely demand for such services from such veterans;

(4) assess the current and projected needs of eligible older veterans for geriatric services, extended-care services, and other health-care services from the Department and its activities and plans designed to meet such needs; and

(5) perform such additional functions as the Secretary or Under Secretary for Health may direct.


(c)(1) The Committee shall submit to the Secretary, through the Under Secretary for Health, such reports as the Committee considers appropriate with respect to its findings and conclusions under subsection (b). Such reports shall include the following:

(A) Descriptions of the operations of the centers of geriatric research, education, and clinical activities established pursuant to section 7314 of this title.

(B) Assessments of the quality of the operations of such centers.

(C) An assessment of the extent to which the Department, through the operation of such centers and other health-care facilities and programs, is meeting the needs of eligible older veterans for geriatric services, extended-care services, and other health-care services.

(D) Assessments of and recommendations for correcting any deficiencies in the operations of such centers.

(E) Recommendations for such other geriatric services, extended-care services, and other health-care services as may be needed to meet the needs of older veterans.


(2) Whenever the Committee submits a report to the Secretary under paragraph (1), the Committee shall at the same time transmit a copy of the report in the same form to the appropriate committees of Congress. Not later than 90 days after receipt of a report under that paragraph, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report containing any comments and recommendations of the Secretary with respect to the report of the Committee.

(Added Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §401(a)(3), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 217; amended Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 404; Pub. L. 102–405, title I, §102, title III, §302(c)(1), Oct. 9, 1992, 106 Stat. 1973, 1984; Pub. L. 103–446, title XII, §§1201(i)(9), 1202(b)(2), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4688, 4689; Pub. L. 107–330, title III, §308(g)(13), Dec. 6, 2002, 116 Stat. 2829.)

References in Text

The Veterans' Administration Health-Care Amendments of 1980, referred to in subsec. (b)(2), is Pub. L. 96–330, Aug. 26, 1980, 94 Stat. 1030. Title III of the Act amended former sections 4101 and 4103 of this title and enacted provisions set out as notes under former section 4101 of this title. For the purposes of title III, see section 301 of Pub. L. 96–330, set out as a note under section 7314 of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title of 1980 Amendment note set out under section 101 of this title and Tables.

Amendments

2002—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 107–330 inserted "Veterans Health" before "Administration" in first sentence.

1994—Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 103–446, §1201(i)(9), which directed substitution of "Veterans' Administration" for "Department", could not be executed because "Department" did not appear subsequent to execution of amendment by Pub. L. 103–446, §1202(b)(2). See below.

Pub. L. 103–446, §1202(b)(2), amended Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), to make it inapplicable to this section. See 1991 Amendment note below.

1992—Subsecs. (a), (b)(1), (5), (c)(1). Pub. L. 102–405, §302(c)(1), substituted "Under Secretary for Health" for "Chief Medical Director" wherever appearing.

Subsec. (c)(2). Pub. L. 102–405, §102, amended par. (2) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (2) read as follows: "Not later than 90 days after receipt of a report submitted under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall transmit the report, together with the Secretary's comments and recommendations thereon, to the appropriate committees of the Congress."

1991—Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), which directed substitution of "Department" for "Veterans' Administration", was amended by Pub. L. 103–446, §1202(b)(2), to make it inapplicable to this section.

Effective Date of 1994 Amendment

Pub. L. 103–446, title XII, §1202(b), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4689, provided that the amendment made by that section is effective Aug. 6, 1991, and as if included in the enactment of Pub. L. 102–83.

Termination of Advisory Committees

Advisory committees established after Jan. 5, 1973, to terminate not later than the expiration of the 2-year period beginning on the date of their establishment, unless, in the case of a committee established by the President or an officer of the Federal Government, such committee is renewed by appropriate action prior to the expiration of such 2-year period, or in the case of a committee established by the Congress, its duration is otherwise provided for by law. See section 14 of Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 776, set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

§7316. Malpractice and negligence suits: defense by United States

(a)(1) The remedy—

(A) against the United States provided by sections 1346(b) and 2672 of title 28, or

(B) through proceedings for compensation or other benefits from the United States as provided by any other law, where the availability of such benefits precludes a remedy under section 1346(b) or 2672 of title 28,


for damages for personal injury, including death, allegedly arising from malpractice or negligence of a health care employee of the Administration in furnishing health care or treatment while in the exercise of that employee's duties in or for the Administration shall be exclusive of any other civil action or proceeding by reason of the same subject matter against the health care employee (or employee's estate) whose act or omission gave rise to such claim.

(2) For purposes of paragraph (1), the term "health care employee of the Administration" means a physician, dentist, podiatrist, chiropractor, optometrist, nurse, physician assistant, expanded-function dental auxiliary, pharmacist, or paramedical (such as medical and dental technicians, nursing assistants, and therapists), or other supporting personnel.

(b) The Attorney General shall defend any civil action or proceeding brought in any court against any person referred to in subsection (a) (or such person's estate) for any such damage or injury. Any such person against whom such civil action or proceeding is brought shall deliver within such time after date of service or knowledge of service as determined by the Attorney General, all process served upon such person or an attested true copy thereof to such person's immediate superior or to whomever was designated by the Secretary to receive such papers and such person shall promptly furnish copies of the pleading and process therein to the United States attorney for the district embracing the place wherein the proceeding is brought, to the Attorney General, and to the Secretary.

(c) Upon a certification by the Attorney General that the defendant was acting in the scope of such person's employment in or for the Administration at the time of the incident out of which the suit arose, any such civil action or proceeding commenced in a State court shall be removed without bond at any time before trial by the Attorney General to the district court of the United States of the district and division embracing the place wherein it is pending and the proceeding deemed a tort action brought against the United States under the provisions of title 28 and all references thereto. After removal the United States shall have available all defenses to which it would have been entitled if the action had originally been commenced against the United States. Should a United States district court determine on a hearing on a motion to remand held before a trial on the merits that the employee whose act or omission gave rise to the suit was not acting within the scope of such person's office or employment, the case shall be remanded to the State court.

(d) The Attorney General may compromise or settle any claim asserted in such civil action or proceeding in the manner provided in section 2677 of title 28, and with the same effect.

(e) The Secretary may, to the extent the Secretary considers appropriate, hold harmless or provide liability insurance for any person to whom the immunity provisions of this section apply (as described in subsection (a)), for damage for personal injury or death, or for property damage, negligently caused by such person while furnishing medical care or treatment (including the conduct of clinical studies or investigations) in the exercise of such person's duties in or for the Administration, if such person is assigned to a foreign country, detailed to State or political division thereof, or is acting under any other circumstances which would preclude the remedies of an injured third person against the United States, provided by sections 1346(b) and 2672 of title 28, for such damage or injury.

(f) The exception provided in section 2680(h) of title 28 shall not apply to any claim arising out of a negligent or wrongful act or omission of any person described in subsection (a) in furnishing medical care or treatment (including medical care or treatment furnished in the course of a clinical study or investigation) while in the exercise of such person's duties in or for the Administration.

(Added Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §401(a)(3), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 219; amended Pub. L. 108–170, title III, §302(e), Dec. 6, 2003, 117 Stat. 2058.)

Amendments

2003—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 108–170, §302(e)(1), substituted "health" for "medical" in three places in concluding provisions.

Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 108–170, §302(e)(2), substituted "health" for "medical" the first place it appeared and inserted "chiropractor," after "podiatrist,".

Effective Date of 2003 Amendment

Pub. L. 108–170, title III, §302(h), Dec. 6, 2003, 117 Stat. 2058, provided that: "The amendments made by this section [amending this section and sections 7401 to 7404, 7409, and 7421 of this title] shall take effect at the end of the 180–day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 6, 2003]."

§7317. Hazardous research projects: indemnification of contractors

(a)(1) With the approval of the Secretary, any contract or research authorized by section 7303 of this title, the performance of which involves a risk of an unusually hazardous nature, may provide that the United States will indemnify the contractor as provided in paragraph (2), but only to the extent that the liability, loss, or damage concerned arises out of the direct performance of the contract and to the extent not covered by the financial protection required under subsection (e).

(2) Indemnity under paragraph (1) is indemnity against either or both of the following:

(A) Liability (including reasonable expenses of litigation or settlement) to third persons, except liability under State or Federal workers' injury compensation laws to employees of the contractor employed at the site of and in connection with the contract for which indemnification is granted, for death, bodily injury, or loss of or damage to property, from a risk that the contract defines as unusually hazardous.

(B) Loss of or damage to property of the contractor from a risk that the contract defines as unusually hazardous.


(b) A contract that provides for indemnification in accordance with subsection (a) must also provide for—

(1) notice to the United States of any claim or suit against the contractor for death, bodily injury, or loss of or damage to property; and

(2) control of or assistance in the defense by the United States, at its election, of any such suit or claim for which indemnification is provided hereunder.


(c) A payment may not be made under subsection (a) unless the Secretary certifies that the amount is just and reasonable.

(d) Upon approval by the Secretary, payments under subsection (a) may be made from—

(1) funds obligated for the performance of the contract concerned;

(2) funds available for research or development or both, and not otherwise obligated; or

(3) funds appropriated for those payments.


(e) Each contractor which is a party to an indemnification agreement under subsection (a) shall have and maintain financial protection of such type and in such amounts as the Secretary shall require to cover liability to third persons and loss of or damage to the contractor's property. The amount of financial protection required shall be the maximum amount of insurance available from private sources, except that the Secretary may establish a lesser amount, taking into consideration the cost and terms of private insurance. Such financial protection may include private insurance, private contractual indemnities, self-insurance, other proof of financial responsibility, or a combination of such measures.

(f) In administering the provisions of this section, the Secretary may use the facilities and services of private insurance organizations and may contract to pay a reasonable compensation therefor. Any contract made under the provisions of this section may be made without regard to the provisions of section 6101(b) to (d) of title 41, upon a showing by the Secretary that advertising is not reasonably practicable, and advance payments may be made under any such contract.

(g) The authority to indemnify contractors under this section does not create any rights in third persons which would not otherwise exist by law.

(h) Funds appropriated to carry out this section shall remain available until expended.

(i) In this section, the term "contractor" includes subcontractors of any tier under a contract containing an indemnification provision pursuant to subsection (a).

(Added Pub. L. 102–40, title IV, §401(a)(3), May 7, 1991, 105 Stat. 220; amended Pub. L. 111–350, §5(j)(4), Jan. 4, 2011, 124 Stat. 3850.)

Amendments

2011—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 111–350 substituted "section 6101(b) to (d) of title 41" for "section 3709 of the Revised Statutes (41 U.S.C. 5)".

§7318. National Center for Preventive Health

(a)(1) The Under Secretary for Health shall establish and operate in the Veterans Health Administration a National Center for Preventive Health (hereinafter in this section referred to as the "Center"). The Center shall be located at a Department health care facility.

(2) The head of the Center is the Director of Preventive Health (hereinafter in this section referred to as the "Director").

(3) The Under Secretary for Health shall provide the Center with such staff and other support as may be necessary for the Center to carry out effectively its functions under this section.

(b) The purposes of the Center are the following:

(1) To provide a central office for monitoring and encouraging the activities of the Veterans Health Administration with respect to the provision, evaluation, and improvement of preventive health services.

(2) To promote the expansion and improvement of clinical, research, and educational activities of the Veterans Health Administration with respect to such services.


(c) In carrying out the purposes of the Center, the Director shall do the following:

(1) Develop and maintain current information on clinical activities of the Veterans Health Administration relating to preventive health services, including activities relating to—

(A) the on-going provision of regularly-furnished services; and

(B) patient education and screening programs carried out throughout the Administration.


(2) Develop and maintain detailed current information on research activities of the Veterans Health Administration relating to preventive health services.

(3) In order to encourage the effective provision of preventive health services by Veterans Health Administration personnel—

(A) ensure the dissemination to such personnel of any appropriate information on such services that is derived from research carried out by the Administration; and

(B) acquire and ensure the dissemination to such personnel of any appropriate information on research and clinical practices relating to such services that are carried out by researchers, clinicians, and educators who are not affiliated with the Administration.


(4) Facilitate the optimal use of the unique resources of the Department for cooperative research into health outcomes by initiating recommendations, and responding to requests of the Under Secretary for Health and the Director of the Medical and Prosthetic Research Service, for such research into preventive health services.

(5) Provide advisory services to personnel of Department health-care facilities with respect to the planning or furnishing of preventive health services by such personnel.


(d) There is authorized to be appropriated $1,500,000 to the Medical Care General and Special Fund of the Department of Veterans Affairs for each fiscal year for the purpose of permitting the National Center for Preventive Health to carry out research, clinical, educational, and administrative activities under this section. Such activities shall be considered to be part of the operation of health-care facilities of the Department without regard to the location at which such activities are carried out.

(e) In this section, the term "preventive health services" has the meaning given such term in section 1701(9) of this title.

(Added Pub. L. 102–585, title V, §511(a)(1), Nov. 4, 1992, 106 Stat. 4955; amended Pub. L. 103–446, title XII, §1201(c)(5), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4683.)

Amendments

1994—Subsecs. (a)(1), (3), (c)(4). Pub. L. 103–446 substituted "Under Secretary for Health" for "Chief Medical Director".

Selection of Facility at Which Center To Be Established

Pub. L. 102–585, title V, §511(c), Nov. 4, 1992, 106 Stat. 4956, as amended by Pub. L. 103–446, title XII, §1202(e)(2), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4689, provided that: "In order to establish the National Center for Preventive Health pursuant to section 7318 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), the Under Secretary for Health of the Department of Veterans Affairs shall solicit proposals from Department health care facilities to establish the center. The Under Secretary for Health shall establish such center at the facility or facilities which the Under Secretary for Health determines, on the basis of a review and analysis of such proposals, would most effectively carry out the purposes set forth in subsection (b) of such section."

§7319. Mammography quality standards

(a) A mammogram may not be performed at a Department facility unless that facility is accredited for that purpose by a private nonprofit organization designated by the Secretary. An organization designated by the Secretary under this subsection shall meet the standards for accrediting bodies established under subsection (e) of section 354 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 263b).

(b) The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall prescribe quality assurance and quality control standards relating to the performance and interpretation of mammograms and use of mammogram equipment and facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs consistent with the requirements of section 354(f)(1) of the Public Health Service Act. Such standards shall be no less stringent than the standards prescribed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 354(f) of the Public Health Service Act.

(c)(1) The Secretary, to ensure compliance with the standards prescribed under subsection (b), shall provide for an annual inspection of the equipment and facilities used by and in Department health care facilities for the performance of mammograms. Such inspections shall be carried out in a manner consistent with the inspection of certified facilities by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 354(g) of the Public Health Service Act.

(2) The Secretary may not provide for an inspection under paragraph (1) to be performed by a State agency.

(d) The Secretary shall ensure that mammograms performed for the Department under contract with any non-Department facility or provider conform to the quality standards prescribed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 354 of the Public Health Service Act.

(e) For the purposes of this section, the term "mammogram" has the meaning given such term in paragraph (5) of section 354(a) of the Public Health Service Act.

(Added Pub. L. 104–262, title III, §321(a)(1), Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3195.)

References in Text

Section 354 of the Public Health Service Act, referred to in text, is section 354 of act July 1, 1944, ch. 373, which is classified to section 263b of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare.

Deadline for Prescribing Standards

Pub. L. 104–262, title III, §321(b), Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3195, provided that: "The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall prescribe standards under subsection (b) of section 7319 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), not later than the end of the 120-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 9, 1996]."

Implementation Report

Pub. L. 104–262, title III, §321(c), Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3195, provided that: "The Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report on the Secretary's implementation of section 7319 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a). The report shall be submitted not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 9, 1996]."

§7320. Centers for mental illness research, education, and clinical activities

(a) The purpose of this section is to provide for the improvement of the provision of health-care services and related counseling services to eligible veterans suffering from mental illness (especially mental illness related to service-related conditions) through—

(1) the conduct of research (including research on improving mental health service facilities of the Department and on improving the delivery of mental health services by the Department);

(2) the education and training of health care personnel of the Department; and

(3) the development of improved models and systems for the furnishing of mental health services by the Department.


(b)(1) The Secretary shall establish and operate centers for mental illness research, education, and clinical activities. Such centers shall be established and operated by collaborating Department facilities as provided in subsection (c)(1). Each such center shall function as a center for—

(A) research on mental health services;

(B) the use by the Department of specific models for furnishing services to treat serious mental illness;

(C) education and training of health-care professionals of the Department; and

(D) the development and implementation of innovative clinical activities and systems of care with respect to the delivery of such services by the Department.


(2) The Secretary shall, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, designate the centers under this section. In making such designations, the Secretary shall ensure that the centers designated are located in various geographic regions of the United States. The Secretary may designate a center under this section only if—

(A) the proposal submitted for the designation of the center meets the requirements of subsection (c);

(B) the Secretary makes the finding described in subsection (d); and

(C) the peer review panel established under subsection (e) makes the determination specified in subsection (e)(3) with respect to that proposal.


(3) Not more than five centers may be designated under this section.

(4) The authority of the Secretary to establish and operate centers under this section is subject to the appropriation of funds for that purpose.

(c) A proposal submitted for the designation of a center under this section shall—

(1) provide for close collaboration in the establishment and operation of the center, and for the provision of care and the conduct of research and education at the center, by a Department facility or facilities in the same geographic area which have a mission centered on care of the mentally ill and a Department facility in that area which has a mission of providing tertiary medical care;

(2) provide that no less than 50 percent of the funds appropriated for the center for support of clinical care, research, and education will be provided to the collaborating facility or facilities that have a mission centered on care of the mentally ill; and

(3) provide for a governance arrangement between the collaborating Department facilities which ensures that the center will be established and operated in a manner aimed at improving the quality of mental health care at the collaborating facility or facilities which have a mission centered on care of the mentally ill.


(d) The finding referred to in subsection (b)(2)(B) with respect to a proposal for designation of a site as a location of a center under this section is a finding by the Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, that the facilities submitting the proposal have developed (or may reasonably be anticipated to develop) each of the following:

(1) An arrangement with an accredited medical school that provides education and training in psychiatry and with which one or more of the participating Department facilities is affiliated under which medical residents receive education and training in psychiatry through regular rotation through the participating Department facilities so as to provide such residents with training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

(2) An arrangement with an accredited graduate program of psychology under which students receive education and training in clinical, counseling, or professional psychology through regular rotation through the participating Department facilities so as to provide such students with training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

(3) An arrangement under which nursing, social work, counseling, or allied health personnel receive training and education in mental health care through regular rotation through the participating Department facilities.

(4) The ability to attract scientists who have demonstrated achievement in research—

(A) into the evaluation of innovative approaches to the design of mental health services; or

(B) into the causes, prevention, and treatment of mental illness.


(5) The capability to evaluate effectively the activities of the center, including activities relating to the evaluation of specific efforts to improve the quality and effectiveness of mental health services provided by the Department at or through individual facilities.


(e)(1) In order to provide advice to assist the Secretary and the Under Secretary for Health to carry out their responsibilities under this section, the official within the central office of the Veterans Health Administration responsible for mental health and behavioral sciences matters shall establish a peer review panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals that are submitted to the Secretary for the designation of centers under this section.

(2) The panel shall consist of experts in the fields of mental health research, education and training, and clinical care. Members of the panel shall serve as consultants to the Department.

(3) The panel shall review each proposal submitted to the panel by the official referred to in paragraph (1) and shall submit to that official its views on the relative scientific and clinical merit of each such proposal. The panel shall specifically determine with respect to each such proposal whether that proposal is among those proposals which have met the highest competitive standards of scientific and clinical merit.

(4) The panel shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).

(f) Clinical and scientific investigation activities at each center established under this section—

(1) may compete for the award of funding from amounts appropriated for the Department of Veterans Affairs medical and prosthetics research account; and

(2) shall receive priority in the award of funding from such account insofar as funds are awarded to projects and activities relating to mental illness.


(g) The Under Secretary for Health shall ensure that at least three centers designated under this section emphasize research into means of improving the quality of care for veterans suffering from mental illness through the development of community-based alternatives to institutional treatment for such illness.

(h) The Under Secretary for Health shall ensure that information produced by the research, education and training, and clinical activities of centers established under this section that may be useful for other activities of the Veterans Health Administration is disseminated throughout the Veterans Health Administration. Such dissemination shall be made through publications, through programs of continuing medical and related education provided through regional medical education centers under subchapter VI of chapter 74 of this title, and through other means. Such programs of continuing medical education shall receive priority in the award of funding.

(i) The official within the central office of the Veterans Health Administration responsible for mental health and behavioral sciences matters shall be responsible for supervising the operation of the centers established pursuant to this section and shall provide for ongoing evaluation of the centers and their compliance with the requirements of this section.

(j)(1) There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the basic support of the research and education and training activities of centers established pursuant to this section amounts as follows:

(A) $3,125,000 for fiscal year 1998.

(B) $6,250,000 for each of fiscal years 1999 through 2001.


(2) In addition to funds appropriated for a fiscal year pursuant to the authorization of appropriations in paragraph (1), the Under Secretary for Health shall allocate to such centers from other funds appropriated for that fiscal year generally for the Department of Veterans Affairs medical services account and the Department of Veterans Affairs medical and prosthetics research account such amounts as the Under Secretary for Health determines appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section.

(Added Pub. L. 104–262, title III, §334(a)(1), Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3200; amended Pub. L. 110–387, title IX, §901(a)(8), Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4142.)

References in Text

The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (e)(4), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Amendments

2008—Subsec. (j)(2). Pub. L. 110–387 substituted "medical services account" for "medical care account".

Annual Reports On and Designation of Centers

Pub. L. 104–262, title III, §334(b), (c), Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3203, 3204, provided that:

"(b) Annual Reports.—Not later than February 1 of each of 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report on the status and activities during the previous fiscal year of the centers for mental illness research, education, and clinical activities established pursuant to section 7320 of title 38, United States Code (as added by subsection (a)). Each such report shall include the following:

"(1) A description of the activities carried out at each center and the funding provided for such activities.

"(2) A description of the advances made at each of the participating facilities of the center in research, education and training, and clinical activities relating to mental illness in veterans.

"(3) A description of the actions taken by the Under Secretary for Health pursuant to subsection (h) of that section (as so added) to disseminate information derived from such activities throughout the Veterans Health Administration.

"(4) The Secretary's evaluations of the effectiveness of the centers in fulfilling the purposes of the centers.

"(c) Implementation.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall designate at least one center under section 7320 of title 38, United States Code, not later than January 1, 1998."

§7321. Committee on Care of Severely Chronically Mentally Ill Veterans

(a) The Secretary, acting through the Under Secretary for Health, shall establish in the Veterans Health Administration a Committee on Care of Severely Chronically Mentally Ill Veterans. The Under Secretary shall appoint employees of the Department with expertise in the care of the chronically mentally ill to serve on the committee.

(b) The committee shall assess, and carry out a continuing assessment of, the capability of the Veterans Health Administration to meet effectively the treatment and rehabilitation needs of mentally ill veterans whose mental illness is severe and chronic and who are eligible for health care furnished by the Department, including the needs of such veterans who are women. In carrying out that responsibility, the committee shall—

(1) evaluate the care provided to such veterans through the Veterans Health Administration;

(2) identify systemwide problems in caring for such veterans in facilities of the Veterans Health Administration;

(3) identify specific facilities within the Veterans Health Administration at which program enrichment is needed to improve treatment and rehabilitation of such veterans; and

(4) identify model programs which the committee considers to have been successful in the treatment and rehabilitation of such veterans and which should be implemented more widely in or through facilities of the Veterans Health Administration.


(c) The committee shall—

(1) advise the Under Secretary regarding the development of policies for the care and rehabilitation of severely chronically mentally ill veterans; and

(2) make recommendations to the Under Secretary—

(A) for improving programs of care of such veterans at specific facilities and throughout the Veterans Health Administration;

(B) for establishing special programs of education and training relevant to the care of such veterans for employees of the Veterans Health Administration;

(C) regarding research needs and priorities relevant to the care of such veterans; and

(D) regarding the appropriate allocation of resources for all such activities.


(d)(1) Not later than April 1, 1997, the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report on the implementation of this section. The report shall include the following:

(A) A list of the members of the committee.

(B) The assessment of the Under Secretary for Health, after review of the initial findings of the committee, regarding the capability of the Veterans Health Administration, on a systemwide and facility-by-facility basis, to meet effectively the treatment and rehabilitation needs of severely chronically mentally ill veterans who are eligible for Department care.

(C) The plans of the committee for further assessments.

(D) The findings and recommendations made by the committee to the Under Secretary for Health and the views of the Under Secretary on such findings and recommendations.

(E) A description of the steps taken, plans made (and a timetable for their execution), and resources to be applied toward improving the capability of the Veterans Health Administration to meet effectively the treatment and rehabilitation needs of severely chronically mentally ill veterans who are eligible for Department care.


(2) Not later than June 1 of each year through 2012, the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report containing information updating the reports submitted under this subsection before the submission of such report.

(Added Pub. L. 104–262, title III, §335(a), Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3204; amended Pub. L. 106–419, title IV, §402(f), Nov. 1, 2000, 114 Stat. 1863; Pub. L. 108–170, title IV, §405(c), Dec. 6, 2003, 117 Stat. 2063; Pub. L. 110–387, title VIII, §807, Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4141.)

Amendments

2008—Subsec. (d)(2). Pub. L. 110–387 substituted "through 2012" for "through 2008".

2003—Subsec. (d)(2). Pub. L. 108–170 substituted "June 1 of each year through 2008" for "February 1, 1998, and February 1 of each of the six following years".

2000—Subsec. (d)(2). Pub. L. 106–419, substituted "six following years" for "three following years".

§7321A. Committee on Care of Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury

(a) Establishment.—The Secretary shall establish in the Veterans Health Administration a committee to be known as the "Committee on Care of Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury". The Under Secretary for Health shall appoint employees of the Department with expertise in the care of veterans with traumatic brain injury to serve on the committee.

(b) Responsibilities of Committee.—The committee shall assess, and carry out a continuing assessment of, the capability of the Veterans Health Administration to meet effectively the treatment and rehabilitation needs of veterans with traumatic brain injury. In carrying out that responsibility, the committee shall—

(1) evaluate the care provided to such veterans through the Veterans Health Administration;

(2) identify systemwide problems in caring for such veterans in facilities of the Veterans Health Administration;

(3) identify specific facilities within the Veterans Health Administration at which program enrichment is needed to improve treatment and rehabilitation of such veterans; and

(4) identify model programs which the committee considers to have been successful in the treatment and rehabilitation of such veterans and which should be implemented more widely in or through facilities of the Veterans Health Administration.


(c) Advice and Recommendations.—The committee shall—

(1) advise the Under Secretary regarding the development of policies for the care and rehabilitation of veterans with traumatic brain injury; and

(2) make recommendations to the Under Secretary—

(A) for improving programs of care of such veterans at specific facilities and throughout the Veterans Health Administration;

(B) for establishing special programs of education and training relevant to the care of such veterans for employees of the Veterans Health Administration;

(C) regarding research needs and priorities relevant to the care of such veterans; and

(D) regarding the appropriate allocation of resources for all such activities.


(d) Annual Report.—Not later than June 1, 2010, and each year thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report on the implementation of this section. Each such report shall include the following for the calendar year preceding the year in which the report is submitted:

(1) A list of the members of the committee.

(2) The assessment of the Under Secretary for Health, after review of the findings of the committee, regarding the capability of the Veterans Health Administration, on a systemwide and facility-by-facility basis, to meet effectively the treatment and rehabilitation needs of veterans with traumatic brain injury.

(3) The plans of the committee for further assessments.

(4) The findings and recommendations made by the committee to the Under Secretary for Health and the views of the Under Secretary on such findings and recommendations.

(5) A description of the steps taken, plans made (and a timetable for the execution of such plans), and resources to be applied toward improving the capability of the Veterans Health Administration to meet effectively the treatment and rehabilitation needs of veterans with traumatic brain injury.

(Added Pub. L. 111–163, title V, §515(a), May 5, 2010, 124 Stat. 1165.)

§7322. Breast cancer mammography policy

(a) The Under Secretary for Health shall develop a national policy for the Veterans Health Administration on mammography screening for veterans.

(b) The policy developed under subsection (a) shall—

(1) specify standards of mammography screening;

(2) provide recommendations with respect to screening, and the frequency of screening, for—

(A) women veterans who are over the age of 39; and

(B) veterans, without regard to age, who have clinical symptoms, risk factors, or family history of breast cancer; and


(3) provide for clinician discretion.

(Added Pub. L. 105–114, title II, §208(a)(1), Nov. 21, 1997, 111 Stat. 2289.)

Effective Date

Pub. L. 105–114, title II, §208(b), Nov. 21, 1997, 111 Stat. 2289, provided that: "The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall develop the national policy on mammography screening required by section 7322 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), and shall furnish such policy in a report to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives, not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Nov. 21, 1997]. Such policy shall not take effect before the expiration of 30 days after the date of its submission to those committees."

Sense of Congress

Pub. L. 105–114, title II, §208(c), Nov. 21, 1997, 111 Stat. 2290, provided that: "It is the sense of Congress that the policy developed under section 7322 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall be in accordance with the guidelines endorsed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the National Institutes of Health."

§7323. Required consultations with nurses

The Under Secretary for Health shall ensure that—

(1) the director of a geographic service area, in formulating policy relating to the provision of patient care, shall consult regularly with a senior nurse executive or senior nurse executives; and

(2) the director of a medical center shall include a registered nurse as a member of any committee used at that medical center to provide recommendations or decisions on medical center operations or policy affecting clinical services, clinical outcomes, budget, or resources.

(Added Pub. L. 106–419, title II, §201(b)(1), Nov. 1, 2000, 114 Stat. 1840.)

§7324. Annual report on use of authorities to enhance retention of experienced nurses

(a) Annual Report.—Not later than January 31 each year, the Secretary, acting through the Under Secretary for Health, shall submit to Congress a report on the use during the preceding year of authorities for purposes of retaining experienced nurses in the Veterans Health Administration, as follows:

(1) The authorities under chapter 76 of this title.

(2) The authority under VA Directive 5102.1, relating to the Department of Veterans Affairs nurse qualification standard, dated November 10, 1999, or any successor directive.

(3) Any other authorities available to the Secretary for those purposes.


(b) Report Elements.—Each report under subsection (a) shall specify for the period covered by such report, for each Department medical facility and for each geographic service area of the Department, the following:

(1) The number of waivers requested under the authority referred to in subsection (a)(2), and the number of waivers granted under that authority, to promote to the Nurse II grade or Nurse III grade under the Nurse Schedule under section 7404(b)(1) of this title any nurse who has not completed a baccalaureate degree in nursing in a recognized school of nursing, set forth by age, race, and years of experience of the individuals subject to such waiver requests and waivers, as the case may be.

(2) The programs carried out to facilitate the use of nursing education programs by experienced nurses, including programs for flexible scheduling, scholarships, salary replacement pay, and on-site classes.

(Added Pub. L. 107–135, title I, §125(a)(1), Jan. 23, 2002, 115 Stat. 2452.)

Initial Report

Pub. L. 107–135, title I, §125(b), Jan. 23, 2002, 115 Stat. 2453, required that the initial report under this section be submitted to the National Commission on VA Nursing as well as to Congress.

§7325. Medical emergency preparedness centers

(a) Establishment of Centers.—(1) The Secretary shall establish four medical emergency preparedness centers in accordance with this section. Each such center shall be established at a Department medical center and shall be staffed by Department employees.

(2) The Under Secretary for Health shall be responsible for supervising the operation of the centers established under this section. The Under Secretary shall provide for ongoing evaluation of the centers and their compliance with the requirements of this section.

(3) The Under Secretary shall carry out the Under Secretary's functions under paragraph (2) in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions.

(b) Mission.—The mission of the centers shall be as follows:

(1) To carry out research on, and to develop methods of detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of injuries, diseases, and illnesses arising from the use of chemical, biological, radiological, incendiary or other explosive weapons or devices posing threats to the public health and safety.

(2) To provide education, training, and advice to health care professionals, including health care professionals outside the Veterans Health Administration, through the National Disaster Medical System established pursuant to section 2812 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300hh–11) or through interagency agreements entered into by the Secretary for that purpose.

(3) In the event of a disaster or emergency referred to in section 1785(b) of this title, to provide such laboratory, epidemiological, medical, or other assistance as the Secretary considers appropriate to Federal, State, and local health care agencies and personnel involved in or responding to the disaster or emergency.


(c) Selection of Centers.—(1) The Secretary shall select the sites for the centers on the basis of a competitive selection process. The Secretary may not designate a site as a location for a center under this section unless the Secretary makes a finding under paragraph (2) with respect to the proposal for the designation of such site. To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall ensure the geographic dispersal of the sites throughout the United States. Any such center may be a consortium of efforts of more than one medical center.

(2) A finding by the Secretary referred to in paragraph (1) with respect to a proposal for designation of a site as a location of a center under this section is a finding by the Secretary, upon the recommendations of the Under Secretary for Health and the Assistant Secretary with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions, that the facility or facilities submitting the proposal have developed (or may reasonably be anticipated to develop) each of the following:

(A) An arrangement with a qualifying medical school and a qualifying school of public health (or a consortium of such schools) under which physicians and other persons in the health field receive education and training through the participating Department medical facilities so as to provide those persons with training in the detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of injuries, diseases, and illnesses induced by exposures to chemical and biological substances, radiation, and incendiary or other explosive weapons or devices.

(B) An arrangement with a graduate school specializing in epidemiology under which students receive education and training in epidemiology through the participating Department facilities so as to provide such students with training in the epidemiology of contagious and infectious diseases and chemical and radiation poisoning in an exposed population.

(C) An arrangement under which nursing, social work, counseling, or allied health personnel and students receive training and education in recognizing and caring for conditions associated with exposures to toxins through the participating Department facilities.

(D) The ability to attract scientists who have made significant contributions to the development of innovative approaches to the detection, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of injuries, diseases, and illnesses arising from the use of chemical, biological, radiological, incendiary or other explosive weapons or devices posing threats to the public health and safety.


(3) For purposes of paragraph (2)(A)—

(A) a qualifying medical school is an accredited medical school that provides education and training in toxicology and environmental health hazards and with which one or more of the participating Department medical centers is affiliated; and

(B) a qualifying school of public health is an accredited school of public health that provides education and training in toxicology and environmental health hazards and with which one or more of the participating Department medical centers is affiliated.


(d) Research Activities.—Each center shall conduct research on improved medical preparedness to protect the Nation from threats in the area of that center's expertise. Each center may seek research funds from public and private sources for such purpose.

(e) Dissemination of Research Products.—(1) The Under Secretary for Health and the Assistant Secretary with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions shall ensure that information produced by the research, education and training, and clinical activities of centers established under this section is made available, as appropriate, to health-care providers in the United States. Dissemination of such information shall be made through publications, through programs of continuing medical and related education provided through regional medical education centers under subchapter VI of chapter 74 of this title, and through other means. Such programs of continuing medical education shall receive priority in the award of funding.

(2) The Secretary shall ensure that the work of the centers is conducted in close coordination with other Federal departments and agencies and that research products or other information of the centers shall be coordinated and shared with other Federal departments and agencies.

(f) Coordination of Activities.—The Secretary shall take appropriate actions to ensure that the work of each center is carried out—

(1) in close coordination with the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other departments, agencies, and elements of the Government charged with coordination of plans for United States homeland security; and

(2) after taking into consideration applicable recommendations of the working group on the prevention, preparedness, and response to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies established under section 319F(a) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d–6(a)) or any other joint interagency advisory group or committee designated by the President or the President's designee to coordinate Federal research on weapons of mass destruction.


(g) Assistance to Other Agencies.—The Secretary may provide assistance requested by appropriate Federal, State, and local civil and criminal authorities in investigations, inquiries, and data analyses as necessary to protect the public safety and prevent or obviate biological, chemical, or radiological threats.

(h) Detail of Employees From Other Agencies.—Upon approval by the Secretary, the Director of a center may request the temporary assignment or detail to the center, on a nonreimbursable basis, of employees from other departments and agencies of the United States who have expertise that would further the mission of the center. Any such employee may be so assigned or detailed on a nonreimbursable basis pursuant to such a request.

(i) Funding.—(1) Amounts appropriated for the activities of the centers under this section shall be appropriated separately from amounts appropriated for the Department for medical care.

(2) In addition to funds appropriated for a fiscal year specifically for the activities of the centers pursuant to paragraph (1), the Under Secretary for Health shall allocate to such centers from other funds appropriated for that fiscal year generally for the Department medical services account and the Department medical and prosthetics research account such amounts as the Under Secretary determines appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section. Any determination by the Under Secretary under the preceding sentence shall be made in consultation with the Assistant Secretary with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions.

(3) There are authorized to be appropriated for the centers under this section $20,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2003 through 2007.

(Added Pub. L. 107–287, §2(a)(1), Nov. 7, 2002, 116 Stat. 2024; amended Pub. L. 110–387, title IX, §901(a)(8), Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4142; Pub. L. 111–275, title X, §1001(n)(2), Oct. 13, 2010, 124 Stat. 2897.)

Amendments

2010—Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 111–275 substituted "section 2812 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300hh–11)" for "section 2811(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300hh–11(b))".

2008—Subsec. (i)(2). Pub. L. 110–387 substituted "medical services account" for "medical care account".

Transfer of Functions

For transfer of functions, personnel, assets, and liabilities of the National Disaster Medical System, including the functions of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response relating thereto, to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, see title III of Pub. L. 109–295, set out in part as a note under section 300hh–11 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare, and section 301(b) of Pub. L. 109–417, set out as a note under section 300hh–11 of Title 42.

For transfer of functions, personnel, assets, and liabilities of the National Disaster Medical System of the Department of Health and Human Services, including the functions of the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness [now Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response] relating thereto, to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see former section 313(5) and sections 551(d), 552(d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.

Peer Review for Designation of Centers

Pub. L. 107–287, §2(b), Nov. 7, 2002, 116 Stat. 2027, provided that:

"(1) In order to assist the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health in selecting sites for centers under section 7325 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), the Under Secretary shall establish a peer review panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals that are submitted to the Secretary for the designation of such centers. The peer review panel shall be established in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions.

"(2) The peer review panel shall include experts in the fields of toxicological research, infectious diseases, radiology, clinical care of patients exposed to such hazards, and other persons as determined appropriate by the Secretary. Members of the panel shall serve as consultants to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"(3) The panel shall review each proposal submitted to the panel by the officials referred to in paragraph (1) and shall submit to the Under Secretary for Health its views on the relative scientific and clinical merit of each such proposal. The panel shall specifically determine with respect to each such proposal whether that proposal is among those proposals which have met the highest competitive standards of scientific and clinical merit.

"(4) The panel shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.)."

§7326. Education and training programs on medical response to consequences of terrorist activities

(a) Education Program.—The Secretary shall carry out a program to develop and disseminate a series of model education and training programs on the medical responses to the consequences of terrorist activities.

(b) Implementing Official.—The program shall be carried out through the Under Secretary for Health, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions.

(c) Content of Programs.—The education and training programs developed under the program shall be modelled after programs established at the F. Edward Hebért School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and shall include, at a minimum, training for health care professionals in the following:

(1) Recognition of chemical, biological, radiological, incendiary, or other explosive agents, weapons, or devices that may be used in terrorist activities.

(2) Identification of the potential symptoms of exposure to those agents.

(3) Understanding of the potential long-term health consequences, including psychological effects, resulting from exposure to those agents, weapons, or devices.

(4) Emergency treatment for exposure to those agents, weapons, or devices.

(5) An appropriate course of followup treatment, supportive care, and referral.

(6) Actions that can be taken while providing care for exposure to those agents, weapons, or devices to protect against contamination, injury, or other hazards from such exposure.

(7) Information on how to seek consultative support and to report suspected or actual use of those agents.


(d) Potential Trainees.—In designing the education and training programs under this section, the Secretary shall ensure that different programs are designed for health-care professionals in Department medical centers. The programs shall be designed to be disseminated to health professions students, graduate health and medical education trainees, and health practitioners in a variety of fields.

(e) Consultation.—In establishing education and training programs under this section, the Secretary shall consult with appropriate representatives of accrediting, certifying, and coordinating organizations in the field of health professions education.

(Added Pub. L. 107–287, §3(a)(1), Nov. 7, 2002, 116 Stat. 2027.)

Implementation

Pub. L. 107–287, §3(b), Nov. 7, 2002, 116 Stat. 2028, provided that: "The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall implement section 7326 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), not later than the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act [Nov. 7, 2002]."

§7327. Centers for research, education, and clinical activities on complex multi-trauma associated with combat injuries

(a) Purpose.—The purpose of this section is to provide for the improvement of the provision of health care services and related rehabilitation and education services to eligible veterans suffering from complex multi-trauma associated with combat injuries through—

(1) the development of improved models and systems for the furnishing by the Department of health care, rehabilitation, and education services to veterans;

(2) the conduct of research to support the provision of such services in accordance with the most current evidence on multi-trauma injuries; and

(3) the education and training of health care personnel of the Department with respect to the provision of such services.


(b) Designation of Centers.—(1) The Secretary shall designate an appropriate number of cooperative centers for clinical care, consultation, research, and education activities on combat injuries.

(2) Each center designated under paragraph (1) shall function as a center for—

(A) research on the long-term effects of injuries sustained as a result of combat in order to support the provision of services for such injuries in accordance with the most current evidence on complex multi-trauma;

(B) the development of rehabilitation methodologies for treating individuals with complex multi-trauma; and

(C) the continuous and consistent coordination of care from the point of referral throughout the rehabilitation process and ongoing follow-up after return to home and community.


(3) The Secretary shall designate one of the centers designated under paragraph (1) as the lead center for activities referred to in that paragraph. As the lead center for such activities, such center shall—

(A) develop and provide periodic review of research priorities, and implement protocols, to ensure that projects contribute to the activities of the centers designated under paragraph (1);

(B) oversee the coordination of the professional and technical activities of such centers to ensure the quality and validity of the methodologies and statistical services for research project leaders;

(C) develop and ensure the deployment of an efficient and cost-effective data management system for such centers;

(D) develop and distribute educational materials and products to enhance the evaluation and care of individuals with combat injuries by medical care providers of the Department who are not specialized in the assessment and care of complex multi-trauma;

(E) develop educational materials for individuals suffering from combat injuries and for their families; and

(F) serve as a resource for the clinical and research infrastructure of such centers by disseminating clinical outcomes and research findings to improve clinical practice.


(4) The Secretary shall designate centers under paragraph (1) upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health.

(5) The Secretary may designate a center under paragraph (1) only if the center meets the requirements of subsection (c).

(c) Requirements for Centers.—To be designated as a center under this section, a facility shall—

(1) be a regional lead center for the care of traumatic brain injury;

(2) be located at a tertiary care medical center and have on-site availability of primary and subspecialty medical services relating to complex multi-trauma;

(3) have, or have the capacity to develop, the capability of managing impairments associated with combat injuries;

(4) be affiliated with a school of medicine;

(5) have, or have experience with, participation in clinical research trials;

(6) provide amputation care and rehabilitation;

(7) have pain management programs;

(8) provide comprehensive brain injury rehabilitation; and

(9) provide comprehensive general rehabilitation.


(d) Additional Resources.—The Secretary shall provide each center designated under this section such resources as the Secretary determines to be required by such center to achieve adequate capability of managing individuals with complex multi-trauma, including—

(1) the upgrading of blind rehabilitation services by employing or securing the services of blind rehabilitation specialists;

(2) employing or securing the services of occupational therapists with blind rehabilitation training;

(3) employing or securing the services of additional mental health services providers; and

(4) employing or securing additional rehabilitation nursing staff to meet care needs.


(e) Cooperation With Department of Defense.—(1) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may assist the Secretary of Defense in the care of members of the Armed Forces with complex multi-trauma at military treatment facilities by—

(A) making available, in a manner that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs considers appropriate, certified rehabilitation registered nurses of the Department of Veterans Affairs to such facilities to assess and coordinate the care of such members; and

(B) making available, in a manner that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs considers appropriate, blind rehabilitation specialists of the Department of Veterans Affairs to such facilities to consult with the medical staff of such facilities on the special needs of such members who have visual impairment as a consequence of combat injury.


(2) Assistance shall be provided under this subsection through agreements for the sharing of health-care resources under section 8111 of this title.

(f) Award of Funding.—Centers designated under this section may compete for the award of funding from amounts appropriated for the Department for medical and prosthetics research.

(g) Dissemination of Information.—(1) The Under Secretary for Health shall ensure that information produced by the centers designated under this section that may be useful for other activities of the Veterans Health Administration is disseminated throughout the Administration.

(2) Information shall be disseminated under this subsection through publications, through programs of continuing medical and related education provided through regional medical education centers under subchapter VI of chapter 74 of this title, and through other means.

(h) National Oversight.—The Under Secretary for Health shall designate an appropriate officer to oversee the operation of the centers designated under this section and provide for periodic evaluation of the centers.

(i) Authorization of Appropriations.—(1) There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the centers designated under this section amounts as follows:

(A) $7,000,000 for fiscal year 2005.

(B) $8,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2006 through 2008.


(2) In addition to amounts authorized to be appropriated by paragraph (1) for a fiscal year, the Under Secretary for Health may allocate to each center designated under this section, from other funds authorized to be appropriated for such fiscal year for the Department generally for medical and for medical and prosthetic research, such amounts as the Under Secretary for Health determines appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section.

(Added Pub. L. 108–422, title III, §302(a)(1), Nov. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2383.)

Center of Excellence in the Mitigation, Treatment, and Rehabilitation of Traumatic Extremity Injuries and Amputations

Pub. L. 110–417, [div. A], title VII, §723, Oct. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 4508, as amended by Pub. L. 114–92, div. A, title X, §1079(d)(2), Nov. 25, 2015, 129 Stat. 999, provided that:

"(a) In General.—The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall jointly establish a center of excellence in the mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of traumatic extremity injuries and amputations.

"(b) Partnerships.—The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall jointly ensure that the center collaborates with the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, institutions of higher education, and other appropriate public and private entities (including international entities) to carry out the responsibilities specified in subsection (c).

"(c) Responsibilities.—The center shall have the responsibilities as follows:

"(1) To implement a comprehensive plan and strategy for the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs for the mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of traumatic extremity injuries and amputations.

"(2) To conduct research to develop scientific information aimed at saving injured extremities, avoiding amputations, and preserving and restoring the function of injured extremities. Such research shall address military medical needs and include the full range of scientific inquiry encompassing basic, translational, and clinical research.

"(3) To carry out such other activities to improve and enhance the efforts of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs for the mitigation, treatment, and rehabilitation of traumatic extremity injuries and amputations as the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs consider appropriate."

Designation of Centers

Pub. L. 108–422, title III, §302(b), Nov. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2385, provided that: "The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall designate the centers for research, education, and clinical activities on complex multi-trauma associated with combat injuries required by section 7327 of title 38, United States Code (as added by subsection (a)), not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Nov. 30, 2004]."

§7328. Medical preparedness centers

(a) Establishment of Centers.—(1) The Secretary shall establish four medical emergency preparedness centers in accordance with this section. Each such center shall be established at a Department medical center and shall be staffed by Department employees.

(2) The Under Secretary for Health shall be responsible for supervising the operation of the centers established under this section. The Under Secretary shall provide for ongoing evaluation of the centers and their compliance with the requirements of this section.

(3) The Under Secretary shall carry out the Under Secretary's functions under paragraph (2) in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions.

(b) Mission.—The mission of the centers shall be as follows:

(1) To carry out research on, and to develop methods of detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of injuries, diseases, and illnesses arising from the use of chemical, biological, radiological, incendiary or other explosive weapons or devices posing threats to the public health and safety.

(2) To provide education, training, and advice to health care professionals, including health care professionals outside the Veterans Health Administration, through the National Disaster Medical System established pursuant to section 2811(b) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300hh–11(b)1 or through interagency agreements entered into by the Secretary for that purpose.

(3) In the event of a disaster or emergency referred to in section 1785(b) of this title, to provide such laboratory, epidemiological, medical, or other assistance as the Secretary considers appropriate to Federal, State, and local health care agencies and personnel involved in or responding to the disaster or emergency.


(c) Selection of Centers.—(1) The Secretary shall select the sites for the centers on the basis of a competitive selection process. The Secretary may not designate a site as a location for a center under this section unless the Secretary makes a finding under paragraph (2) with respect to the proposal for the designation of such site. To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall ensure the geographic dispersal of the sites throughout the United States. Any such center may be a consortium of efforts of more than one medical center.

(2) A finding by the Secretary referred to in paragraph (1) with respect to a proposal for designation of a site as a location of a center under this section is a finding by the Secretary, upon the recommendations of the Under Secretary for Health and the Assistant Secretary with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions, that the facility or facilities submitting the proposal have developed (or may reasonably be anticipated to develop) each of the following:

(A) An arrangement with a qualifying medical school and a qualifying school of public health (or a consortium of such schools) under which physicians and other persons in the health field receive education and training through the participating Department medical facilities so as to provide those persons with training in the detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of injuries, diseases, and illnesses induced by exposures to chemical and biological substances, radiation, and incendiary or other explosive weapons or devices.

(B) An arrangement with a graduate school specializing in epidemiology under which students receive education and training in epidemiology through the participating Department facilities so as to provide such students with training in the epidemiology of contagious and infectious diseases and chemical and radiation poisoning in an exposed population.

(C) An arrangement under which nursing, social work, counseling, or allied health personnel and students receive training and education in recognizing and caring for conditions associated with exposures to toxins through the participating Department facilities.

(D) The ability to attract scientists who have made significant contributions to the development of innovative approaches to the detection, diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of injuries, diseases, and illnesses arising from the use of chemical, biological, radiological, incendiary or other explosive weapons or devices posing threats to the public health and safety.


(3) For purposes of paragraph (2)(A)—

(A) a qualifying medical school is an accredited medical school that provides education and training in toxicology and environmental health hazards and with which one or more of the participating Department medical centers is affiliated; and

(B) a qualifying school of public health is an accredited school of public health that provides education and training in toxicology and environmental health hazards and with which one or more of the participating Department medical centers is affiliated.


(d) Research Activities.—Each center shall conduct research on improved medical preparedness to protect the Nation from threats in the area of that center's expertise. Each center may seek research funds from public and private sources for such purpose.

(e) Dissemination of Research Products.—(1) The Under Secretary for Health and the Assistant Secretary with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions shall ensure that information produced by the research, education and training, and clinical activities of centers established under this section is made available, as appropriate, to health-care providers in the United States. Dissemination of such information shall be made through publications, through programs of continuing medical and related education provided through regional medical education centers under subchapter VI of chapter 74 of this title, and through other means. Such programs of continuing medical education shall receive priority in the award of funding.

(2) The Secretary shall ensure that the work of the centers is conducted in close coordination with other Federal departments and agencies and that research products or other information of the centers shall be coordinated and shared with other Federal departments and agencies.

(f) Coordination of Activities.—The Secretary shall take appropriate actions to ensure that the work of each center is carried out—

(1) in close coordination with the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other departments, agencies, and elements of the Government charged with coordination of plans for United States homeland security; and

(2) after taking into consideration applicable recommendations of the working group on the prevention, preparedness, and response to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies established under section 319F(a) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d–6(a)) or any other joint interagency advisory group or committee designated by the President or the President's designee to coordinate Federal research on weapons of mass destruction.


(g) Assistance to Other Agencies.—The Secretary may provide assistance requested by appropriate Federal, State, and local civil and criminal authorities in investigations, inquiries, and data analyses as necessary to protect the public safety and prevent or obviate biological, chemical, or radiological threats.

(h) Detail of Employees From Other Agencies.—Upon approval by the Secretary, the Director of a center may request the temporary assignment or detail to the center, on a nonreimbursable basis, of employees from other departments and agencies of the United States who have expertise that would further the mission of the center. Any such employee may be so assigned or detailed on a nonreimbursable basis pursuant to such a request.

(i) Funding.—(1) There are authorized to be appropriated for the centers under this section $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2005 through 2007.

(2) In addition to any amounts appropriated for a fiscal year specifically for the activities of the centers pursuant to paragraph (1), the Under Secretary for Health shall allocate to the centers from other funds appropriated for that fiscal year generally for the Department medical services account and the Department medical and prosthetic research account such amounts as the Under Secretary determines necessary in order to carry out the purposes of this section.

(Added Pub. L. 108–422, title III, §303(c)(1), Nov. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2386; amended Pub. L. 110–387, title IX, §901(a)(8), Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4142.)

References in Text

Section 2811(b) of the Public Health Service Act, referred to in subsec. (b)(2), was redesignated section 2812(a) of the Public Health Service Act by Pub. L. 109–417, title I, §102(a)(2), title III, §301(a)(3), Dec. 19, 2006, 120 Stat. 2832, 2853, and is classified to section 300hh–11(a) of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare.

Codification

The text of subsecs. (a) to (h) of this section consists of the text of section 7325(a) to (h) of this title, as duplicated in this section by Pub. L. 108–422, §303(c)(1)(B), which was based on Pub. L. 107–287, §2(a)(1), Nov. 7, 2002, 116 Stat. 2024.

Amendments

2008—Subsec. (i)(2). Pub. L. 110–387 substituted "medical services account" for "medical care account".

Transfer of Functions

For transfer of functions, personnel, assets, and liabilities of the National Disaster Medical System, including the functions of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response relating thereto, to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, see title III of Pub. L. 109–295, set out in part as a note under section 300hh–11 of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare, and section 301(b) of Pub. L. 109–417, set out as a note under section 300hh–11 of Title 42.

For transfer of functions, personnel, assets, and liabilities of the National Disaster Medical System of the Department of Health and Human Services, including the functions of the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness [now Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response] relating thereto, to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see former section 313(5) and sections 551(d), 552(d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.

Enhancement of Medical Preparedness of Department of Veterans Affairs

Pub. L. 108–422, title III, §303(a), (b), Nov. 30, 2004, 118 Stat. 2386, provided that:

"(a) Peer Review Panel.—In order to assist the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in selecting facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs to serve as sites for centers under section 7328 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (c), the Secretary shall establish a peer review panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals that are submitted to the Secretary for the selection of such facilities. The panel shall be established not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Nov. 30, 2004] and shall include experts in the fields of toxicological research, infectious diseases, radiology, clinical care of veterans exposed to such hazards, and other persons as determined appropriate by the Secretary. Members of the panel shall serve as consultants to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Amounts available to the Secretary for Medical Care may be used for purposes of carrying out this subsection. The panel shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).

"(b) Proposals.—The Secretary shall solicit proposals for designation of facilities as described in subsection (a). The announcement of the solicitation of such proposals shall be issued not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and the deadline for the submission of proposals in response to such solicitation shall be not later than 90 days after the date of such announcement. The peer review panel established under subsection (a) shall complete its review of the proposals and submit its recommendations to the Secretary not later than 60 days after the date of the deadline for the submission of proposals. The Secretary shall then select the four sites for the location of such centers not later than 45 days after the date on which the peer review panel submits its recommendations to the Secretary."

1 See References in Text note below.

§7329. Parkinson's Disease research, education, and clinical centers

(a) Establishment of Centers.—(1) The Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, shall designate not less than six Department health-care facilities as the locations for centers of Parkinson's Disease research, education, and clinical activities.

(2) Subject to the availability of appropriations for such purpose, the Secretary shall establish and operate centers of Parkinson's Disease research, education, and clinical activities centers at the locations designated pursuant to paragraph (1).

(b) Criteria for Designation of Facilities.—(1) In designating Department health-care facilities for centers under subsection (a), the Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, shall assure appropriate geographic distribution of such facilities.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), the Secretary shall designate as the location for a center of Parkinson's Disease research, education, and clinical activities pursuant to subsection (a)(1) each Department health-care facility that as of January 1, 2005, was operating a Parkinson's Disease research, education, and clinical center.

(3) The Secretary may not under subsection (a) designate a facility described in paragraph (2) if (on the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health) the Secretary determines that such facility—

(A) does not meet the requirements of subsection (c); or

(B) has not demonstrated—

(i) effectiveness in carrying out the established purposes of such center; or

(ii) the potential to carry out such purposes effectively in the reasonably foreseeable future.


(c) Requirements for Designation.—(1) The Secretary may not designate a Department health-care facility as a location for a center under subsection (a) unless the peer review panel established under subsection (d) has determined under that subsection that the proposal submitted by such facility as a location for a new center under subsection (a) is among those proposals that meet the highest competitive standards of scientific and clinical merit.

(2) The Secretary may not designate a Department health-care facility as a location for a center under subsection (a) unless the Secretary (upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health) determines that the facility has (or may reasonably be anticipated to develop) each of the following:

(A) An arrangement with an accredited medical school that provides education and training in neurology and with which the Department health-care facility is affiliated under which residents receive education and training in innovative diagnosis and treatment of chronic neurodegenerative diseases and movement disorders, including Parkinson's Disease.

(B) The ability to attract the participation of scientists who are capable of ingenuity and creativity in health-care research efforts.

(C) An advisory committee composed of veterans and appropriate health-care and research representatives of the Department health-care facility and of the affiliated school or schools to advise the directors of such facility and such center on policy matters pertaining to the activities of the center during the period of the operation of such center.

(D) The capability to conduct effectively evaluations of the activities of such center.

(E) The capability to coordinate (as part of an integrated national system) education, clinical, and research activities within all facilities with such centers.

(F) The capability to jointly develop a consortium of providers with interest in treating neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's Disease and other movement disorders, at facilities without centers established under subsection (a) in order to ensure better access to state-of-the-art diagnosis, care, and education for neurodegenerative disorders throughout the health-care system of the Department.

(G) The capability to develop a national repository in the health-care system of the Department for the collection of data on health services delivered to veterans seeking care for neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's Disease, and other movement disorders.


(d) Peer Review Panel.—(1) The Under Secretary for Health shall establish a panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals that are submitted to the Secretary for the establishment of centers under this section.

(2)(A) The membership of the panel shall consist of experts in neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's Disease and other movement disorders.

(B) Members of the panel shall serve for a period of no longer than two years, except as specified in subparagraph (C).

(C) Of the members first appointed to the panel, one half shall be appointed for a period of three years and one half shall be appointed for a period of two years, as designated by the Under Secretary at the time of appointment.

(3) The panel shall review each proposal submitted to the panel by the Under Secretary and shall submit its views on the relative scientific and clinical merit of each such proposal to the Under Secretary.

(4) The panel shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

(e) Priority of Funding.—Before providing funds for the operation of a center designated under subsection (a) at a Department health-care facility other than at a facility designated pursuant to subsection (b)(2), the Secretary shall ensure that each Parkinson's Disease center at a facility designated pursuant to subsection (b)(2) is receiving adequate funding to enable that center to function effectively in the areas of Parkinson's Disease research, education, and clinical activities.

(f) Authorization of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for the support of the research and education activities of the centers established pursuant to subsection (a). The Under Secretary for Health shall allocate to such centers from other funds appropriated generally for the Department medical services account and medical and prosthetics research account, as appropriate, such amounts as the Under Secretary for Health determines appropriate.

(g) Award Competitions.—Activities of clinical and scientific investigation at each center established under subsection (a) shall be eligible to compete for the award of funding from funds appropriated for the Department medical and prosthetics research account. Such activities shall receive priority in the award of funding from such account insofar as funds are awarded to projects for research in Parkinson's Disease and other movement disorders.

(Added Pub. L. 109–461, title II, §209(a)(1), Dec. 22, 2006, 120 Stat. 3413.)

References in Text

The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (d)(4), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Codification

A substantially identical section enacted by Pub. L. 109–444, §6(a)(1), Dec. 21, 2006, 120 Stat. 3308, was repealed by Pub. L. 109–461, title X, §1006(b), Dec. 22, 2006, 120 Stat. 3468, set out as a Coordination of Provisions With Pub. L. 109–444 note under section 101 of this title.

Effective Date

Pub. L. 109–461, title II, §209(b), Dec. 22, 2006, 120 Stat. 3418, provided that: "Sections 7329 and 7330 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall take effect at the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 22, 2006]."

Pub. L. 109–444, §6(b), Dec. 21, 2006, 120 Stat. 3312, which provided that this section and section 7330 of this title would take effect at the end of the 30-day period beginning on Dec. 21, 2006, was repealed by Pub. L. 109–461, title X, §1006(b), Dec. 22, 2006, 120 Stat. 3468, set out as a Coordination of Provisions With Pub. L. 109–444 note under section 101 of this title.

§7330. Multiple sclerosis centers of excellence

(a) Establishment of Centers.—(1) The Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, shall designate not less than two Department health-care facilities as the locations for multiple sclerosis centers of excellence.

(2) Subject to the availability of appropriations for such purpose, the Secretary shall establish and operate multiple sclerosis centers of excellence at the locations designated pursuant to paragraph (1).

(b) Criteria for Designation of Facilities.—(1) In designating Department health-care facilities for centers under subsection (a), the Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, shall assure appropriate geographic distribution of such facilities.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), the Secretary shall designate as the location for a center pursuant to subsection (a)(1) each Department health-care facility that as of January 1, 2005, was operating a multiple sclerosis center of excellence.

(3) The Secretary may not under subsection (a) designate a facility described in paragraph (2) if (on the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health) the Secretary determines that such facility—

(A) does not meet the requirements of subsection (c); or

(B) has not demonstrated—

(i) effectiveness in carrying out the established purposes of such center; or

(ii) the potential to carry out such purposes effectively in the reasonably foreseeable future.


(c) Requirements for Designation.—(1) The Secretary may not designate a Department health-care facility as a location for a center under subsection (a) unless the peer review panel established under subsection (d) has determined under that subsection that the proposal submitted by such facility as a location for a new center under subsection (a) is among those proposals that meet the highest competitive standards of scientific and clinical merit.

(2) The Secretary may not designate a Department health-care facility as a location for a center under subsection (a) unless the Secretary (upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health) determines that the facility has (or may reasonably be anticipated to develop) each of the following:

(A) An arrangement with an accredited medical school that provides education and training in neurology and with which the Department health-care facility is affiliated under which residents receive education and training in innovative diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune diseases affecting the central nervous system, including multiple sclerosis.

(B) The ability to attract the participation of scientists who are capable of ingenuity and creativity in health-care research efforts.

(C) An advisory committee composed of veterans and appropriate health-care and research representatives of the Department health-care facility and of the affiliated school or schools to advise the directors of such facility and such center on policy matters pertaining to the activities of the center during the period of the operation of such center.

(D) The capability to conduct effectively evaluations of the activities of such center.

(E) The capability to coordinate (as part of an integrated national system) education, clinical, and research activities within all facilities with such centers.

(F) The capability to jointly develop a consortium of providers with interest in treating multiple sclerosis at facilities without such centers in order to ensure better access to state-of-the-art diagnosis, care, and education for autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system throughout the health-care system of the Department.

(G) The capability to develop a national repository in the health-care system of the Department for the collection of data on health services delivered to veterans seeking care for autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system.


(d) Peer Review Panel.—(1) The Under Secretary for Health shall establish a panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals that are submitted to the Secretary for the establishment of centers under this section.

(2)(A) The membership of the panel shall consist of experts in autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system.

(B) Members of the panel shall serve for a period of no longer than two years, except as specified in subparagraph (C).

(C) Of the members first appointed to the panel, one half shall be appointed for a period of three years and one half shall be appointed for a period of two years, as designated by the Under Secretary at the time of appointment.

(3) The panel shall review each proposal submitted to the panel by the Under Secretary and shall submit its views on the relative scientific and clinical merit of each such proposal to the Under Secretary.

(4) The panel shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

(e) Priority of Funding.—Before providing funds for the operation of a center designated under subsection (a) at a Department health-care facility other than at a facility designated pursuant to subsection (b)(2), the Secretary shall ensure that each multiple sclerosis center at a facility designated pursuant to subsection (b)(2) is receiving adequate funding to enable that center to function effectively in the areas of multiple sclerosis research, education, and clinical activities.

(f) Authorization of Appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for the support of the research and education activities of the centers established pursuant to subsection (a). The Under Secretary for Health shall allocate to such centers from other funds appropriated generally for the Department medical services account and medical and prosthetics research account, as appropriate, such amounts as the Under Secretary for Health determines appropriate.

(g) Award Competitions.—Activities of clinical and scientific investigation at each center established under subsection (a) shall be eligible to compete for the award of funding from funds appropriated for the Department medical and prosthetics research account. Such activities shall receive priority in the award of funding from such account insofar as funds are awarded to projects for research in multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative disorders.

(Added Pub. L. 109–461, title II, §209(a)(1), Dec. 22, 2006, 120 Stat. 3416.)

References in Text

The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (d)(4), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Codification

A substantially identical section enacted by Pub. L. 109–444, §6(a)(1), Dec. 21, 2006, 120 Stat. 3310, was repealed by Pub. L. 109–461, title X, §1006(b), Dec. 22, 2006, 120 Stat. 3468, set out as a Coordination of Provisions With Pub. L. 109–444 note under section 101 of this title.

Effective Date

Section effective at the end of the 30-day period beginning Dec. 22, 2006, see section 209(b) of Pub. L. 109–461, set out as a note under section 7329 of this title.

§7330A. Epilepsy centers of excellence

(a) Establishment of Centers.—(1) Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of the Veterans' Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008, the Secretary shall designate at least four but not more than six Department health care facilities as locations for epilepsy centers of excellence for the Department.

(2) Of the facilities designated under paragraph (1), not less than two shall be centers designated under section 7327 of this title.

(3) Of the facilities designated under paragraph (1), not less than two shall be facilities that are not centers designated under section 7327 of this title.

(4) Subject to the availability of appropriations for such purpose, the Secretary shall establish and operate an epilepsy center of excellence at each location designated under paragraph (1).

(b) Designation of Facilities.—(1) In designating locations for epilepsy centers of excellence under subsection (a), the Secretary shall solicit proposals from Department health care facilities seeking designation as a location for an epilepsy center of excellence.

(2) The Secretary may not designate a facility as a location for an epilepsy center of excellence under subsection (a) unless the peer review panel established under subsection (c) has determined under that subsection that the proposal submitted by such facility seeking designation as a location for an epilepsy center of excellence is among those proposals that meet the highest competitive standards of scientific and clinical merit.

(3) In choosing from among the facilities meeting the requirements of paragraph (2), the Secretary shall also consider appropriate geographic distribution when designating the epilepsy centers of excellence under subsection (a).

(c) Peer Review Panel.—(1) The Under Secretary for Health shall establish a peer review panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals that are submitted to the Secretary for the designation of epilepsy centers of excellence under this section.

(2)(A) The membership of the peer review panel shall consist of experts on epilepsy, including post-traumatic epilepsy.

(B) Members of the peer review panel shall serve for a period of no longer than two years, except as specified in subparagraph (C).

(C) Of the members first appointed to the panel, one half shall be appointed for a period of three years and one half shall be appointed for a period of two years, as designated by the Under Secretary at the time of appointment.

(3) The peer review panel shall review each proposal submitted to the panel by the Under Secretary for Health and shall submit its views on the relative scientific and clinical merit of each such proposal to the Under Secretary.

(4) The peer review panel shall, in conjunction with the national coordinator designated under subsection (e), conduct regular evaluations of each epilepsy center of excellence established and operated under subsection (a) to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section.

(5) The peer review panel shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

(d) Epilepsy Center of Excellence Defined.—In this section, the term "epilepsy center of excellence" means a health care facility that has (or in the foreseeable future can develop) the necessary capacity to function as a center of excellence in research, education, and clinical care activities in the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy and has (or may reasonably be anticipated to develop) each of the following:

(1) An affiliation with an accredited medical school that provides education and training in neurology, including an arrangement with such school under which medical residents receive education and training in the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy (including neurosurgery).

(2) The ability to attract the participation of scientists who are capable of ingenuity and creativity in health care research efforts.

(3) An advisory committee composed of veterans and appropriate health care and research representatives of the facility and of the affiliated school or schools to advise the directors of such facility and such center on policy matters pertaining to the activities of the center during the period of the operation of such center.

(4) The capability to conduct effectively evaluations of the activities of such center.

(5) The capability to assist in the expansion of the Department's use of information systems and databases to improve the quality and delivery of care for veterans enrolled within the Department's health care system.

(6) The capability to assist in the expansion of the Department telehealth program to develop, transmit, monitor, and review neurological diagnostic tests.

(7) The ability to perform epilepsy research, education, and clinical care activities in collaboration with Department medical facilities that have centers for research, education, and clinical care activities on complex multi-trauma associated with combat injuries established under section 7327 of this title.


(e) National Coordinator for Epilepsy Programs.—(1) To assist the Secretary and the Under Secretary for Health in carrying out this section, the Secretary shall designate an individual in the Veterans Health Administration to act as a national coordinator for epilepsy programs of the Veterans Health Administration.

(2) The duties of the national coordinator for epilepsy programs shall include the following:

(A) To supervise the operation of the centers established pursuant to this section.

(B) To coordinate and support the national consortium of providers with interest in treating epilepsy at Department health care facilities lacking such centers in order to ensure better access to state-of-the-art diagnosis, research, clinical care, and education for traumatic brain injury and epilepsy throughout the health care system of the Department.

(C) To conduct, in conjunction with the peer review panel established under subsection (c), regular evaluations of the epilepsy centers of excellence to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section.

(D) To coordinate (as part of an integrated national system) education, clinical care, and research activities within all facilities with an epilepsy center of excellence.

(E) To develop jointly a national consortium of providers with interest in treating epilepsy at Department health care facilities lacking an epilepsy center of excellence in order to ensure better access to state-of-the-art diagnosis, research, clinical care, and education for traumatic brain injury and epilepsy throughout the health care system of the Department. Such consortium should include a designated epilepsy referral clinic in each Veterans Integrated Service Network.


(3) In carrying out duties under this subsection, the national coordinator for epilepsy programs shall report to the official of the Veterans Health Administration responsible for neurology.

(f) Authorization of Appropriations.—(1) There are authorized to be appropriated $6,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2013 for the support of the clinical care, research, and education activities of the epilepsy centers of excellence established and operated pursuant to subsection (a)(2).

(2) There are authorized to be appropriated for each fiscal year after fiscal year 2013 such sums as may be necessary for the support of the clinical care, research, and education activities of the epilepsy centers of excellence established and operated pursuant to subsection (a)(2).

(3) The Secretary shall ensure that funds for such centers are designated for the first three years of operation as a special purpose program for which funds are not allocated through the Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation system.

(4) In addition to amounts authorized to be appropriated under paragraphs (1) and (2) for a fiscal year, the Under Secretary for Health shall allocate to such centers from other funds appropriated generally for the Department medical services account and medical and prosthetics research account, as appropriate, such amounts as the Under Secretary for Health determines appropriate.

(5) In addition to amounts authorized to be appropriated under paragraphs (1) and (2) for a fiscal year, there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to fund the national coordinator established by subsection (e).

(Added Pub. L. 110–387, title IV, §404(a), Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4126.)

References in Text

The date of the enactment of the Veterans' Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 110–387, which was approved Oct. 10, 2008.

The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (c)(5), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

§7330B. Annual report on Veterans Health Administration and furnishing of hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care

(a) Report Required.—Not later than March 1 of each of years 2018 through 2022, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report on, for the calendar year preceding the calendar year during which the report is submitted—

(1) the furnishing of hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care under the laws administered by the Secretary; and

(2) the administration of the furnishing of such care and services by the Veterans Health Administration.


(b) Elements.—Each report required by subsection (a) shall include each of the following for the year covered by the report:

(1) An evaluation of the effectiveness of the Veterans Health Administration in increasing the access of veterans to hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care furnished by the Secretary for which such veterans are eligible.

(2) An evaluation of the effectiveness of the Veterans Health Administration in improving the quality of health care provided to veterans, without increasing the costs incurred for such health care by the Federal Government or veterans, including relevant information for each medical center and Veterans Integrated Service Network of the Department set forth separately.

(3) An assessment of—

(A) the workload of physicians and other employees of the Veterans Health Administration;

(B) patient demographics and utilization rates;

(C) physician compensation;

(D) the productivity of physicians and other employees of the Veterans Health Administration;

(E) the percentage of hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care provided to veterans in facilities of the Department and in non-Department facilities and any changes in such percentages compared to the year preceding the year covered by the report;

(F) pharmaceutical prices; and

(G) third-party health billings owed to the Department, including the total amount of such billings and the total amount collected by the Department, set forth separately for claims greater than $1,000 and for claims equal to or less than $1,000.


(c) Definitions.—In this section, the terms "hospital care", "medical services", "nursing home care", "facilities of the Department", and "non-Department facilities" have the meanings given those terms in section 1701 of this title.

(Added Pub. L. 114–315, title VI, §612(a), Dec. 16, 2016, 130 Stat. 1575.)

§7330C. Quadrennial Veterans Health Administration review

(a) Market Area Assessments.—(1) Not less frequently than every 4 years, the Secretary shall perform market area assessments regarding the health care services furnished under the laws administered by the Secretary.

(2) Each market area assessment established under paragraph (1) shall include the following:

(A) An assessment of the demand for health care from the Department, disaggregated by geographic market areas as determined by the Secretary, including the number of requests for health care services under the laws administered by the Secretary.

(B) An inventory of the health care capacity of the Department across the Department's system of facilities.

(C) An assessment of the health care capacity to be provided through contracted community care providers and providers who entered into a provider agreement with the Department under section 1703A of this title, including the number of providers, the geographic location of the providers, and categories or types of health care services provided by the providers.

(D) An assessment obtained from other Federal direct delivery systems of their capacity to provide health care to veterans.

(E) An assessment of the health care capacity of non-contracted providers where there is insufficient network supply.

(F) An assessment of the health care capacity of academic affiliates and other collaborations of the Department as it relates to providing health care to veterans.

(G) An assessment of the effects on health care capacity of the access standards and standards for quality established under sections 1703B and 1703C of this title.

(H) The number of appointments for health care services under the laws administered by the Secretary, disaggregated by—

(i) appointments at facilities of the Department; and

(ii) appointments with non-Department health care providers.


(3)(A) The Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress the market area assessments established in paragraph (1).

(B) The Secretary also shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress the market area assessments completed by or being performed on the day before the date of the enactment of the Caring for Our Veterans Act of 2018.

(4)(A) The Secretary shall use the market area assessments established under paragraph (1) to—

(i) determine the capacity of the health care provider networks established under section 1703(h) of this title;

(ii) inform the Department budget, in accordance with subparagraph (B); and

(iii) inform and assess the appropriateness of the access standards established under section 1703B of this title and standards for quality under section 1703C of this title and to make recommendations for any changes to such standards.


(B) The Secretary shall ensure that the Department budget for any fiscal year (as submitted with the budget of the President under section 1105(a) of title 31) reflects the findings of the Secretary with respect to the most recent market area assessments under paragraph (1) and health care utilization data from the Department and non-Department entities or providers furnishing care and services to covered veterans as described in section 1703(b) of this title.

(b) Strategic Plan To Meet Health Care Demand.—(1) Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of the Caring for Our Veterans Act of 2018 and not less frequently than once every 4 years thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a strategic plan that specifies a 4-year forecast of—

(A) the demand for health care from the Department, disaggregated by geographic area as determined by the Secretary;

(B) the health care capacity to be provided at each medical center of the Department; and

(C) the health care capacity to be provided through community care providers.


(2) In preparing the strategic plan under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall—

(A) assess the access standards and standards for quality established under sections 1703B and 1703C of this title;

(B) assess the market area assessments established under subsection (a);

(C) assess the needs of the Department based on identified services that provide management of conditions or disorders related to military service for which there is limited experience or access in the national market, the overall health of veterans throughout their lifespan, or other services as the Secretary determines appropriate;

(D) consult with key stakeholders within the Department, the heads of other Federal agencies, and other relevant governmental and nongovernmental entities, including State, local, and tribal government officials, members of Congress, veterans service organizations, private sector representatives, academics, and other policy experts;

(E) identify emerging issues, trends, problems, and opportunities that could affect health care services furnished under the laws administered by the Secretary;

(F) develop recommendations regarding both short- and long-term priorities for health care services furnished under the laws administered by the Secretary;

(G) after consultation with veterans service organizations and other key stakeholders on survey development or modification of an existing survey, consider a survey of veterans who have used hospital care, medical services, or extended care services furnished by the Veterans Health Administration during the most recent 2-year period to assess the satisfaction of the veterans with service and quality of care;

(H) conduct a comprehensive examination of programs and policies of the Department regarding the delivery of health care services and the demand of health care services for veterans in future years;

(I) assess the remediation of medical service lines of the Department as described in section 1706A of this title in conjunction with the utilization of non-Department entities or providers to offset remediation; and

(J) consider such other matters as the Secretary considers appropriate.


(c) Responsibilities.—The Secretary shall be responsible for—

(1) overseeing the transformation and organizational change across the Department to achieve a high-performing integrated health care network;

(2) developing the capital infrastructure planning and procurement processes, whether minor or major construction projects or leases; and

(3) developing a multi-year budget process that is capable of forecasting future year budget requirements and projecting the cost of delivering health care services under such a high-performing integrated health care network.


(d) Appropriate Committees of Congress Defined.—In this section, the term "appropriate committees of Congress" means—

(1) the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and

(2) the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

(Added Pub. L. 115–182, title I, §106(a), June 6, 2018, 132 Stat. 1413; amended Pub. L. 115–251, title II, §211(a)(11), Sept. 29, 2018, 132 Stat. 3175.)

References in Text

The date of the enactment of the Caring for Our Veterans Act of 2018, referred to in subsecs. (a)(3)(B) and (b), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 115–182, which was approved June 6, 2018.

Amendments

2018—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 115–251, §211(a)(11)(A)(i), substituted "Secretary shall" for "Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall".

Subsec. (a)(2)(B). Pub. L. 115–251, §211(a)(11)(A)(ii)(I), substituted "Department across" for "Department of Veterans Affairs across".

Subsec. (a)(2)(C). Pub. L. 115–251, §211(a)(11)(A)(ii)(II), substituted "of this title" for "of title 38, as added by section 102".

Subsec. (a)(2)(H)(i). Pub. L. 115–251, §211(a)(11)(A)(ii)(III), substituted "Department" for "Department of Veterans Affairs".

Subsec. (a)(4)(A)(iii). Pub. L. 115–251, §211(a)(11)(A)(iii)(I), inserted "of this title" after "section 1703C".

Subsec. (a)(4)(B). Pub. L. 115–251, §211(a)(11)(A)(iii)(II), inserted "of this title" after "section 1703(b)".

Subsec. (b)(2)(I). Pub. L. 115–251, §211(a)(11)(B), inserted "of this title" after "section 1706A".

Subsec. (c)(1). Pub. L. 115–251, §211(a)(11)(C)(i), substituted "a high-performing" for "such high performing".

Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 115–251, §211(a)(11)(C)(ii), inserted "such" before "a high-performing".