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H.R. 5830: Veteran PEER Act

The text of the bill below is as of May 15, 2018 (Introduced).


I

115th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5830

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 15, 2018

(for himself and Mr. Coffman) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs

A BILL

To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a program to establish peer specialists in patient aligned care teams at medical centers of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Veteran Partners’ Efforts to Enhance Reintegration Act or the Veteran PEER Act.

2.

Program on establishment of peer specialists in patient aligned care team settings within medical centers of Department of Veterans Affairs

(a)

Program required

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall carry out a program to establish not fewer than two peer specialists in patient aligned care teams at medical centers of the Department of Veterans Affairs to promote the use and integration of services for mental health, substance use disorder, and behavior health in a primary care setting.

(b)

Timeframe for establishment of program

The Secretary shall carry out the program at medical centers of the Department as follows:

(1)

Not later than December 31, 2018, at not fewer than 25 medical centers of the Department.

(2)

Not later than December 31, 2019, at not fewer than 50 medical centers of the Department.

(c)

Selection of locations

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall select medical centers for the program as follows:

(A)

Not fewer than five shall be medical centers of the Department that are designated by the Secretary as polytrauma centers.

(B)

Not fewer than ten shall be medical centers of the Department that are not designated by the Secretary as polytrauma centers.

(2)

Considerations

In selecting medical centers for the program under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall consider the feasibility and advisability of selecting medical centers in the following areas:

(A)

Rural areas and other areas that are underserved by the Department.

(B)

Areas that are not in close proximity to an active duty military installation.

(C)

Areas representing different geographic locations, such as census tracts established by the Bureau of the Census.

(d)

Gender-Specific services

In carrying out the program at each location selected under subsection (c), the Secretary shall ensure that—

(1)

the needs of female veterans are specifically considered and addressed; and

(2)

female peer specialists are made available to female veterans who are treated at each location.

(e)

Engagement with community providers

At each location selected under subsection (c), the Secretary shall consider ways in which peer specialists can conduct outreach to health care providers in the community who are known to be serving veterans to engage with those providers and veterans served by those providers.

(f)

Reports

(1)

Periodic reports

(A)

In general

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and not less frequently than once every 180 days thereafter until the Secretary determines that the program is being carried out at the last location to be selected under subsection (c), the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the program.

(B)

Elements

Each report required by subparagraph (A) shall, with respect to the 180-day period preceding the submittal of the report, include the following:

(i)

The findings and conclusions of the Secretary with respect to the program.

(ii)

An assessment of the benefits of the program to veterans and family members of veterans.

(iii)

An assessment of the effectiveness of peer specialists in engaging under subsection (e) with health care providers in the community and veterans served by those providers.

(2)

Final report

Not later than 180 days after the Secretary determines that the program is being carried out at the last location to be selected under subsection (c), the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report detailing the recommendations of the Secretary as to the feasibility and advisability of expanding the program to additional locations.