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H.R. 4771: VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act


The text of the bill below is as of Oct 21, 2019 (Introduced).


I

116th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 4771

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

October 21, 2019

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

A BILL

To amend title 38, United States Code, to permit appellants to appear in disability compensation cases before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals by picture and voice transmission from locations other than facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act.

2.

Disability compensation hearings before the Board of Veterans' Appeals by means of teleconference from locations other than facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs

(a)

Establishment

Section 7107 of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in subsection (c)(2)—

(A)

in subparagraph (A), by inserting or subparagraph (C) of this paragraph after subparagraph (B) of such paragraph;

(B)

in subparagraph (B), by inserting or subparagraph (C) of this paragraph after subparagraph (A) of such paragraph; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph (C):

(C)

Upon notification of a Board hearing under subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) in a case regarding disability compensation under a law administered by the Secretary, the appellant may alternatively request a hearing by picture and voice transmission—

(i)

at a location selected by the appellant; and

(ii)

via a secure internet platform established and maintained by the Secretary that protects sensitive personal information from a data breach.

If so requested, the Board shall grant such request.

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following new subsection (f):

(f)

Definitions

In this section, the terms sensitive personal information and data breach have the meanings given those terms in section 5727 of this title.

.

(b)

Deadline

The Secretary shall implement the amendments made by subsection (a) not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(c)

Reports

On the day that is one year after the date on which the Secretary implements subparagraph (C) of subsection (c)(2) of such section 7107, as added by subsection (a), and twice annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report regarding hearings held under such subparagraph. Each such report shall include, with respect to the year immediately preceding the date of the report, the following:

(1)

The number of hearings scheduled under such subparagraph.

(2)

The number of hearings under such subparagraph that were cancelled and why each such hearing was cancelled.

(3)

Any statistical difference in outcomes between cases heard under such subparagraph and those held at the principal location of the Board or by picture and voice transmission at a facility of the Department.