< Back to H.R. 5731 (111th Congress, 2009–2010)

Text of the Veterans Mental Health Professionals Oversight Act of 2010

This bill was introduced on July 14, 2010, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jul 14, 2010 (Introduced).

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Source: GPO

I

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5731

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 14, 2010

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

A BILL

To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for annual reviews of mental health professionals treating veterans, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Veterans Mental Health Professionals Oversight Act of 2010.

2.

Review of mental health professionals of the Department of Veterans Affairs

(a)

In general

(1)

Review

Subchapter II of chapter 73 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

7330B.

Review of mental health professionals

(a)

Review

Not later than January 1 of each year, the Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs shall conduct a review of mental health professionals employed by the Veterans Health Administration during the preceding fiscal year.

(b)

Report

Not later than 90 days after the date on which the review under subsection (a) is completed, the Inspector General shall submit to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate, and the Advisory Committee on Veterans with Psychological and Mental Health Needs under section 547 of this title a report on such review.

(c)

Contents

With respect to each covered facility in each geographic service area of the Veterans Health Administration, the report shall include the following:

(1)

The number of full-time psychiatrists and psychologists employed during the preceding fiscal year.

(2)

The number of part-time (or part-time equivalent) psychiatrists and psychologists employed during the preceding fiscal year.

(3)

The number of mental health nursing staff employed during the preceding fiscal year.

(4)

The number of certified social workers assigned to mental health programs during the preceding fiscal year.

(5)

The number of other direct-care mental health staff, including counselors and outreach workers, employed during the preceding fiscal year.

(6)

The number of administrative and support staff assigned to mental health programs during the preceding fiscal year.

(7)

The number of full-time direct-care employees for all programs of the Veterans Health Administration.

(8)

The number of unfilled vacancies for mental health positions that have been authorized for each geographic service area (including the number of positions per each covered facility) and the average length of time such positions remain unfilled.

(d)

Definition

In this section, the term covered facility includes each medical center, facility, and community-based outpatient clinic of the Veterans Health Administration.

.

(2)

Clerical amendment

The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 73 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 7330A the following new item:

7330B. Review of mental health professionals

.

(b)

Report

Not later than October 1, 2011, the Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate, and the Advisory Committee on Veterans with Psychological and Mental Health Needs under section 547 of title 38, United States Code, as added by section 3 of this Act, a report under section 7330B of such title, as added by subsection (a) of this section, with respect to each of fiscal years 2004 through 2009.

3.

Advisory committee on veterans with psychological and mental health needs

(a)

In general

Subchapter III of chapter 5 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

547.

Advisory committee on veterans with psychological and mental health needs

(a)

Establishment

The Secretary shall establish an advisory committee to be known as the Advisory Committee on Veterans with Psychological and Mental Health Needs (in this section referred to as the Committee).

(b)

Membership

The Committee shall consist of members appointed by the Secretary, including—

(1)

mental health practitioners of the Department;

(2)

veterans;

(3)

individuals representing veteran service organizations; and

(4)

individuals representing other organizations related to mental health or veterans.

(c)

Responsibilities of Committee

(1)

The Secretary shall, on a regular basis, consult with and seek the advice of the Committee with respect to the provision of mental health care to veterans.

(2)

In addition to providing advice under paragraph (1), the Committee shall—

(A)

analyze data contained in the reports submitted under section 7330B of this title; and

(B)

collect information related to the provision of mental health treatment to veterans by the Department, including by visiting medical facilities of the Department from time to time.

(d)

Reports

Not later than March 1 of each year, beginning March 1, 2011, the Committee shall submit to the Secretary a report on the programs and activities of the Department that pertain to veterans with psychological and mental health needs.

.

(b)

Clerical Amendment

The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 5 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

547. Advisory committee on veterans with psychological and mental health needs.

.

4.

Report on chronic mental health conditions

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate a report on chronic mental health conditions. The report shall include the following:

(1)

The number of veterans diagnosed with chronic mental health conditions.

(2)

The anticipated needs of veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom with respect to the treatment of chronic mental health conditions.

(3)

With respect to treating the veterans described in paragraph (2), the anticipated needs of the Department of Veterans Affairs related to—

(A)

the number (by type) of staff of the Veterans Health Administration;

(B)

the number (by type) of facilities of the Veterans Health Administration;

(C)

the equipment and other resources used in such treatment; and

(D)

the amount of funding required by the Secretary.

(4)

The optimal panel size of patients for mental health professionals treating the veterans described in paragraphs (1) and (2).

5.

Study on substance-use disorders and rehabilitation

(a)

Study

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall conduct a study of substance-use disorders among veterans. Such study shall include—

(1)

the barriers to rehabilitation and treatment of such substance-use disorders;

(2)

the effect early intervention services have on treating substance-use disorders;

(3)

the effect counseling, including couples and family counseling, has on treating substance-use disorders; and

(4)

developing programs to combat any stigmas related to treating substance-use disorders that prevent veterans from seeking such treatment.

(b)

Report

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate a report on the study required by subsection (a).

6.

Comptroller General reports on mental health programs

(a)

MHSP and UMHS

(1)

In general

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study to assess—

(A)

the progress of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in implementing the Mental Health Strategic Plan of the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs (published November 2004); and

(B)

the status of the Uniform Mental Health Services handbook of the Veterans Health Administration (Veterans Health Administration handbook 1160.01, published September 11, 2008) at the end of fiscal year 2010.

(2)

Report

Not later than 30 days after the study under paragraph (1) is completed, the Comptroller General shall submit to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs a report on the study, including the number of full-time mental health professionals the Comptroller General determines necessary to implement the Mental Health Strategic Plan and the Uniform Mental Health Services handbook.

(b)

VERA system

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs a report on any modifications to the Veterans’ Equitable Resource Allocation system of the Veterans Health Administration that the Comptroller General determines necessary for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to meet the mental health needs of veterans.