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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 3, 2000.
TABLE OF CONTENTS: Title I: Senior Health Care Title II: TRICARE Program Title III: Joint Initiatives With Department of Veterans Affairs Title IV: Other Matters Veterans' Health Care Improvement and Prescription Drug Cost Relief Act of 2000 - Title I: Senior Health Care - Amends the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 to extend through December 31, 2005, the TRICARE Senior Supplement Program (a demonstration program under which certain Medicare-eligible senior citizens are given medical care and services under TRICARE (a Department of Defense (DOD) managed health care program) for which DOD is reimbursed through the Medicare program). Amends the Social Security Act to extend through the same date a similar demonstration program known as TRICARE Senior Prime. Authorizes the latter program to be offered at major medical centers of DOD (currently limited to six military treatment facilities).(Sec. 103) Amends a demonstration program offering health care coverage to certain military personnel, spouses, and dependents through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to allow eligible beneficiaries who will be at least 65 years of age on December 31, 2002, to enroll, or extend a previous enrollment, during a three-year period of open enrollment for the year 2003. Extends such demonstration program through December 31, 2005. Repeals the ten-site limit for the program.(Sec. 104) Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to charge an enrollment fee for participation in the TRICARE pharmacy system (a program for providing reduced-cost pharmaceuticals to TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries). Authorizes the Secretary to impose one or more cost-sharing requirements upon such participants. Allows participants to pay required premiums on a monthly or annual basis.Title II: TRICARE Program - Amends the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS) relating to medical and dental care provided to certain members and former members of the armed forces to: (1) make eligible for such services members and former members of the Coast Guard when not operating as a service in the Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Public Health Service; (2) require coverage for immediate family members of eligible individuals to be comparable to coverage for medical care and standards for timely access to such care under TRICARE Prime; and (3) entitle dependents of members performing duty in remote locations who reside with such member to the same care and waiver of such care under CHAMPUS as the members themselves.(Sec. 202) Prohibits a member from being charged a copayment for care provided under TRICARE Prime to an immediate family member.(Sec. 203) Directs the Secretary to improve certain business practices used when administering the access of eligible persons to health care services through the TRICARE program.Title III: Joint Initiatives With Department of Veterans Affairs - Directs the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs to jointly: (1) prescribe a centralized process for the reporting, compiling, and analysis of errors in the provision of health care under their respective departments that endanger patients beyond the normal risks associated with such care and treatment; and (2) develop a system for the use of bar codes for the identification of pharmaceuticals. Requires the Secretary of Defense to experiment with the use of such bar codes in the current DOD mail order pharmaceuticals demonstration project.Title IV: Other Matters - Directs the Secretary to authorize the following persons to obtain prescription pharmaceuticals from DOD by mail: (1) individuals who are eligible for medical care under CHAMPUS; or (2) individuals who would be so eligible except for also being entitled to hospital insurance benefits under Medicare. Directs the Secretary to prescribe an appropriate fee or copayment for pharmaceuticals so obtained.(Sec. 402) Amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000 to limit to $100 million the annual cost limitation for the CHAMPUS individual case management program.(Sec. 403) Directs the Secretary to carry out two studies to assess the feasibility and desirability of financing the military health care program for military retirees on an accrual basis.