IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
November 8, 2017
Mr. Tester (for himself, Mr. Heller, and Ms. Baldwin) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs
To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the administration of State homes furnishing care to veterans under the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
State Veterans Home Program Improvement Act of 2017.
Modification of requirements on use by States of State home funds received from the Department of Veterans Affairs
Subchapter V of chapter 17 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
Requirements on use of amounts
Use of amounts
Amounts paid to a State for the treatment of veterans at a State home under this subchapter may not be used for a purpose other than the operation of a State home in that State.
Prohibition on transfer to state treasury
A State may not transfer amounts paid to the State under this subchapter to the general treasury of the State.
Authorization of transfer of amounts
A State may transfer amounts paid to the State under this subchapter to other State homes located in that State.
The Secretary may waive the requirements of subsections (a) and (b) with respect to a State if the State submits to the Secretary a certification that—
the State homes located in that State do not require additional maintenance, capital improvements, or staffing; and
the amounts paid to the State under this subchapter will be used to benefit veterans.
The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 17 of such title is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1745 the following new item:
1746. Requirements on use of amounts.
Modification of priority of State home projects of the Department of Veterans Affairs
Projects from previous years
Paragraph (4) of section 8135(c) of title 38, United States Code, is amended—
The Secretary and inserting
(A) The Secretary; and
by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
With respect to a project that is approved in a fiscal year but for which a grant has not been awarded under this subchapter in that fiscal year, the Secretary may not accord a lower priority on the list described in subparagraph (A) to that project in any subsequent fiscal year (as compared to the priority accorded that project in any previous fiscal year) unless the reason for such lower priority is the inclusion in such list of a project described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (2).
Paragraph (2) of such section is amended, in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking
paragraphs (3) and (5)(C) and inserting
paragraphs (3), (4)(B), and (5)(C).
Consideration of access to private facilities
Such section is further amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
In determining under subparagraphs (D), (F), and (H) of paragraph (2) whether a State has a great, significant, or limited need for beds in connection with an application under subsection (a), the Secretary shall—
consider the availability and accessibility to individuals in that State of private facilities providing similar care to the care for which the application is submitted under such subsection; and
accord a lower priority in the list established under paragraph (4) to applications by States with a significant number of such private facilities, as determined by the Secretary.
Pilot program to compensate States for State home services provided in facilities that are not intended exclusively for veterans
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall carry out a pilot program to compensate States for furnishing care described in paragraph (2) to veterans at State-operated facilities that are not intended to be used exclusively by veterans.
Care described in this paragraph is care that is the same as care furnished in State homes under subchapter V of chapter 17 of title 38, United States Code.
The Secretary may not carry out the pilot program under this section after the date that is four years after the date of the enactment of this Act.
Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and not less frequently than annually thereafter until the termination of the pilot program under this section, 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 outcomes of the pilot program with respect to quality of care, satisfaction of veterans with care, and cost effectiveness of care furnished under the pilot program.
Comptroller General report
Not later than 270 days after the termination of the pilot program under this section, the Comptroller General of the United States 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 outcomes of the pilot program with respect to quality of care, satisfaction of veterans with care, and cost effectiveness of care furnished under the pilot program.