IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
October 19, 2021
Mr. Warnock introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs
To amend title 38, United States Code, to establish new requirements for State homes for veterans that receive per diem from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Improving Care for Veterans Act.
Requirement that State homes for veterans have governing bodies and administrators and payments to assist State homes in hiring infection preventionists
Governing bodies and administrators
Subchapter V of chapter 17 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1741 the following new section:
As a condition on the receipt of per diem payments under this subchapter, a State home shall—
have a governing body that—
is legally responsible for establishing and implementing policies regarding the management and operation of the State home;
consists of more than one person; and
appoints an administrator or deputy superintendent described in paragraph (2);
employ an administrator or deputy superintendent who—
is licensed by the State, if required by State law; and
meets standards established by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under sections 1819(f)(4) and 1919(f)(4) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395i–3(f)(4), 1396r(f)(4));
employ an infection preventionist (as that term is defined in section 1744A of this title); and
include in information submitted each year to the Secretary—
the name of the infection preventionist employed under paragraph (3); and
an emergency plan, updated annually, in case of a public health emergency or other disaster.
The table of sections at the beginning of such subchapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1741 the following new item:
1741A. Administration requirements.
Funding of infection preventionists
Such subchapter is further amended by inserting after section 1744 the following new section:
Hiring and retention of infection preventionists: payments to assist States
The Secretary shall make payments to States under this section for the purpose of assisting State homes in the hiring and retention of infection preventionists.
Payments to a State for a fiscal year under this section shall, subject to submission of an application, be made to any State that during that fiscal year receives per diem payments under this subchapter for that fiscal year.
Limitations on amount of payment
A payment under this section may not be used to provide more than 50 percent of the salary or wages for an infection preventionist for a fiscal year.
A payment under this section for any fiscal year with respect to any State home may only be made based upon an application submitted by the State seeking such payment with respect to that State home.
Each application under paragraph (1) shall describe the salary or wages of the infection preventionist.
Source of funds
Payments under this section shall be made from funds available for other payments under this subchapter.
Payments under this section to a State home shall be made as part of the disbursement of payments under section 1741 of this title with respect to that State home.
Use of certain receipts
The Secretary shall require as a condition of any payment under this section that, in any case in which the State home receives a refund payment made by an employee in breach of the terms of an agreement for employee assistance that used funds provided under this section, the payment shall be returned to the incentive program account for the State home and credited as a non-Federal funding source.
Any State home receiving a payment under this section for any fiscal year, shall, as a condition of the payment, be required to agree to provide to the Secretary a report setting forth in detail the use of funds received through the payment.
Each report under paragraph (1) for a fiscal year shall be provided to the Secretary not later than 60 days after the end of the fiscal year and shall be subject to audit by the Secretary.
Eligibility for payment under this section for any fiscal year is contingent upon the receipt by the Secretary of the annual report under this subsection for the previous fiscal year in accordance with this subsection.
The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section.
Regulations required under paragraph (1) shall include the establishment of criteria for the award of payments under this section.
Infection preventionist defined
In this section, the term infection preventionist, with respect to a State home, means an individual—
who has primary professional training in nursing, medical technology, microbiology, epidemiology, or a related field;
whom the Secretary determines is qualified by education, training, experience, or certification;
who works at least part-time at the State home; and
who has completed specialized training in infection prevention and control.
The table of sections at the beginning of such subchapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1744 the following new item:
1744A. Hiring and retention of infection preventionists: payments to assist States.