H. R. 2074
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
To amend title 38, United States Code, to require a comprehensive policy on reporting and tracking sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents that occur at medical facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to improve rehabilitative services for veterans with traumatic brain injury, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Veterans Sexual Assault Prevention and Health Care Enhancement Act.
Comprehensive policy on reporting and tracking sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents
Subchapter I of chapter 17 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
Comprehensive policy on reporting and tracking sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents
Not later than March 1, 2012, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall develop and implement a centralized and comprehensive policy on the reporting and tracking of sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents that occur at each medical facility of the Department, including—
suspected, alleged, attempted, or confirmed cases of sexual assault, regardless of whether such assaults lead to prosecution or conviction;
criminal and purposefully unsafe acts;
alcohol or substance abuse related acts (including by employees of the Department); and
any kind of event involving alleged or suspected abuse of a patient.
The policy required by subsection (a) shall cover each of the following:
For purposes of reporting and tracking sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents, definitions of the terms—
sexual assault; and
sexual assault incident.
The development and use of specific risk-assessment tools to examine any risks related to sexual assault that a veteran may pose while being treated at a medical facility of the Department, including clear and consistent guidance on the collection of information related to—
the legal history of the veteran; and
the medical record of the veteran.
The mandatory training of employees of the Department on security issues, including awareness, preparedness, precautions, and police assistance.
The mandatory implementation, use, and regular testing of appropriate physical security precautions and equipment, including surveillance camera systems, computer-based panic alarm systems, stationary panic alarms, and electronic portable personal panic alarms.
Clear, consistent, and comprehensive criteria and guidance with respect to an employee of the Department communicating and reporting sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents to—
supervisory personnel of the employee at—
a medical facility of the Department;
an office of a Veterans Integrated Service Network; and
the central office of the Veterans Health Administration; and
a law enforcement official of the Department.
Clear and consistent criteria and guidelines with respect to an employee of the Department referring and reporting to the Office of Inspector General of the Department sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents that meet the regulatory criminal threshold in accordance with section 1.201 and 1.204 of title 38, Code of Federal Regulations.
An accountable oversight system within the Veterans Health Administration that includes—
systematic information sharing of reported sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents among officials of the Administration who have programmatic responsibility; and
a centralized reporting, tracking, and monitoring system for such incidents.
Consistent procedures and systems for law enforcement officials of the Department with respect to investigating, tracking, and closing reported sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents.
Clear and consistent guidance for the clinical management of the treatment of sexual assaults that are reported more than 72 hours after the assault.
Updates to policy
The Secretary shall review and revise the policy required by subsection (a) on a periodic basis as the Secretary considers appropriate and in accordance with best practices.
Not later than 60 days after the date on which the Secretary develops the policy required by subsection (a), and by not later than October 1 of each year thereafter, 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 implementation of the policy.
The report under paragraph (1) shall include—
the number and type of sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents reported by each medical facility of the Department;
a detailed description of the implementation of the policy required by subsection (a), including any revisions made to such policy from the previous year; and
the effectiveness of such policy on improving the safety and security of the medical facilities of the Department, including the performance measures used to evaluate such effectiveness.
The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section.
The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding after the item relating to section 1708 the following:
1709. Comprehensive policy on reporting and tracking sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents.
Not later than 30 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 the development of the performance measures described in section 1709(d)(2)(C) of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a).
Increased flexibility in establishing payment rates for nursing home care provided by State homes
Contracts and agreements for nursing home care
Section 1745(a) of title 38, United States Code, is amended—
in paragraph (1), by striking
The Secretary shall pay each State home for nursing home care at the rate determined under paragraph (2) and inserting
The Secretary shall enter into a contract (or agreement under section 1720(c)(1) of this title) with each State home for payment by the Secretary for nursing home care provided in the home; and
by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following new paragraph (2):
Payment under each contract (or agreement) between the Secretary and a State home under paragraph (1) shall be based on a methodology, developed by the Secretary in consultation with the State home, to adequately reimburse the State home for the care provided by the State home under the contract (or agreement).
State nursing homes
Section 1720(c)(1)(A) of such title is amended—
in clause (i), by striking
; and and inserting a semicolon;
in clause (ii), by striking the period at the end and inserting
; and; and
by adding at the end the following new clause:
a provider of services eligible to enter into a contract pursuant to section 1745(a) of this title who is not otherwise described in clause (i) or (ii).
The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply to care provided on or after January 1, 2012.
Rehabilitative services for veterans with traumatic brain injury
Rehabilitation plans and services
Section 1710C of title 38, United States Code, is amended—
in subsection (a)(1), by inserting before the semicolon the following:
with the goal of maximizing the individual’s independence;
in subsection (b)—
in paragraph (1)—
(and sustaining improvement in) after
in paragraph (2), by inserting
rehabilitative services and before
rehabilitative components; and
in paragraph (3)—
treatments the first place it appears and inserting
treatments and the second place it appears; and
by adding at the end the following new subsection:
Rehabilitative services defined
For purposes of this section, and sections 1710D and 1710E of this title, the term
rehabilitative services includes—
rehabilitative services, as defined in section 1701 of this title;
treatment and services (which may be of ongoing duration) to sustain, and prevent loss of, functional gains that have been achieved; and
any other rehabilitative services or supports that may contribute to maximizing an individual’s independence.
Rehabilitation services in comprehensive program for long-term rehabilitation
Section 1710D(a) of title 38, United States Code, is amended—
and rehabilitative services (as defined in section 1710C of this title) after
long-term care; and
Rehabilitation services in authority for cooperative agreements for use of non-Department facilities for rehabilitation
Section 1710E(a) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by inserting
, including rehabilitative services (as defined in section 1710C of this title), after
Section 1710C(c)(2)(S) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by striking
opthamologist and inserting
Use of service dogs on property of the Department of Veterans Affairs
Section 901 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
The Secretary may not prohibit the use of service dogs in any facility or on any property of the Department or in any facility or on any property that receives funding from the Secretary.
Department of Veterans Affairs pilot program on dog training therapy
Commencing not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall implement a three-year pilot program for the purpose of assessing the effectiveness of using dog training activities as a component of integrated post-deployment mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder rehabilitation programs at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers to positively affect veterans with post-deployment mental health conditions and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and, through such activities, to produce specially trained dogs that meet criteria for becoming service dogs for veterans with disabilities.
Location of Pilot Program
The pilot program shall be carried out at one Department of Veterans Affairs medical center selected by the Secretary for such purpose at a location other than in the Department of Veterans Affairs Palo Alto health care system in Palo Alto, California. In selecting a medical center for the pilot program, the Secretary shall—
ensure that the medical center selected—
has an established mental health rehabilitation program that includes a clinical focus on rehabilitation treatment of post-deployment mental health conditions and post-traumatic stress disorder; and
has a demonstrated capability and capacity to incorporate service dog training activities into the rehabilitation program; and
shall review and consider using recommendations published by Assistance Dogs International, International Guide Dog Federation, or comparably recognized experts in the art and science of basic dog training with regard to space, equipments, and methodologies.
Design of Pilot Program
In carrying out the pilot program, the Secretary shall—
administer the program through the Department of Veterans Affairs Patient Care Services Office as a collaborative effort between the Rehabilitation Office and the Office of Mental Health Services;
ensure that the national pilot program lead of the Patient Care Services Office has sufficient administrative experience to oversee the pilot program;
establish partnerships through memorandums of understanding with Assistance Dogs International organizations, International Guide Dog Federation organizations, academic affiliates, or organizations with equivalent credentials with experience in teaching others to train service dogs for the purpose of advising the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding the design, development, and implementation of pilot program;
ensure that the pilot program site has a service dog training instructor;
ensure that dogs selected for use in the program meet all health clearance, age, and temperament criteria as outlined by Assistance Dogs International, International Guide Dog Federation, or an organization with equivalent credentials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
consider dogs residing in animal shelters or foster homes for participation in the program if such dogs meet the selection criteria under this subsection; and
ensure that each dog selected for the program is taught all basic commands and behaviors essential to being accepted by an accredited service dog training organization to be partnered with a disabled veteran for final individualized service dog training tailored to meet the needs of the veteran.
A veteran who is enrolled in the health care system established under section 1705(a) of title 38, United States Code, and is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or another post-deployment mental health condition may volunteer to participate in the pilot program required by subsection (a) of this section and may participate in the program if the Secretary determines that adequate program resources are available for such veteran to participate at the pilot program site.
In hiring service dog training instructors for the pilot program required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall give a preference to veterans in accordance with section 2108 and 3309 of title 5, United States Code.
Collection of Data
The Secretary shall collect data on the pilot program required by subsection (a) to determine the effectiveness of the program in positively affecting veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or other post-deployment mental health condition symptoms and the potential for expanding the program to additional Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. Such data shall be collected and analyzed using valid and reliable methodologies and instruments.
Reports to Congress
Not later than one year after the date of the commencement of the pilot program, and annually thereafter for the duration of the pilot program, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the pilot program. Each such report shall include—
the number of veterans participating in the pilot program;
a description of the services carried out by the Secretary under the pilot program; and
the effects that participating in the pilot program has on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and post-deployment mental health conditions.
At the conclusion of pilot program, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a final report that includes recommendations with respect to the extension or expansion of the pilot program.
For the purposes of this section, the term
service dog training instructor means an instructor recognized by an accredited dog organization training program who provides hands-on training in the art and science of service dog training and handling.
Elimination of annual report on staffing for nurse positions
Section 7451(e) of title 38, United States Code, is amended—
by striking paragraph (5); and
by redesignating paragraph (6) as paragraph (5).
Passed the House of Representatives October 11, 2011.
Karen L. Haas,