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Phantom Blooper
10-29-03, 09:37 PM
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Veterans Health Care Facilities Capital Improvement Act (Introduced in House)

HR 1720 IH


108th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1720
To authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out construction projects for the purpose of improving, renovating, establishing, and updating patient care facilities at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

April 10, 2003
Mr. SIMMONS (for himself and Mr. SMITH of New Jersey) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs



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A BILL
To authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out construction projects for the purpose of improving, renovating, establishing, and updating patient care facilities at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Veterans Health Care Facilities Capital Improvement Act'.

SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION OF MAJOR MEDICAL FACILITY PROJECTS FOR PATIENT CARE IMPROVEMENTS.

(a) IN GENERAL- (1) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs is authorized to carry out major medical facility projects in accordance with this section, using funds appropriated for fiscal year 2004, 2005, or 2006 pursuant to section 3. The cost of any such project may not exceed

(A) $100,000,000 in fiscal year 2004;

(B) $125,000,000 in fiscal year 2005; and

(C) $150,000,000 in fiscal year 2006.

(2) Projects carried out under this section are not subject to section 8104(a)(2) of title 38, United States Code.

(b) TYPE OF PROJECTS- A project carried out under subsection (a) may be carried out only at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center and only for the purpose of one or more of the following:

(1) Improving a patient care facility.

(2) Replacing a patient care facility.

(3) Renovating a patient care facility.

(4) Updating a patient care facility to contemporary standards.

(5) Establishing a new patient care facility at a location where no Department patient care facility exists.

(6) Improving, replacing, or renovating a research facility or updating such a facility to contemporary standards.

(c) PURPOSE OF PROJECTS- In selecting medical centers for projects under subsection (a), the Secretary shall select projects to improve, replace, renovate, update, or establish facilities to achieve one or more of the following:

(1) Seismic protection improvements related to patient safety (or, in the case of a research facility, patient or employee safety).

(2) Fire safety improvements.

(3) Improvements to utility systems and ancillary patient care facilities (including such systems and facilities that may be exclusively associated with research facilities).

(4) Improved accommodation for persons with disabilities, including barrier-free access.

(5) Improvements at patient care facilities to specialized programs of the Department, including the following:

(A) Blind rehabilitation centers.

(B) Inpatient and residential programs for seriously mentally ill veterans, including mental illness research, education, and clinical centers.

(C) Residential and rehabilitation programs for veterans with substance-use disorders.

(D) Physical medicine and rehabilitation activities.

(E) Long-term care, including geriatric research, education, and clinical centers, adult day care centers, and nursing home care facilities.

(F) Amputation care, including facilities for prosthetics, orthotics programs, and sensory aids.

(G) Spinal cord injury centers.

(H) Traumatic brain injury programs.

(I) Women veterans' health programs (including particularly programs involving privacy and accommodation for female patients).

(J) Facilities for hospice and palliative care programs.

(d) REVIEW PROCESS- (1) The Secretary shall provide that, before a project is submitted to the Secretary with a recommendation that it be approved as a project to be carried out under the authority of this section, the project shall be reviewed by a board within the Department of Veterans Affairs that is independent of the Veterans Health Administration and that is constituted by the Secretary to evaluate capital investment projects. The board shall review such project to determine the project's relevance to the medical care mission of the Department and whether the project improves, renovates, repairs, establishes, or updates facilities of the Department in accordance with this section.

(2) In selecting projects to be carried out under the authority provided by this section, the Secretary shall consider the recommendations of the board under paragraph (1). In any case in which the Secretary approves a project to be carried out under this section that was not recommended for such approval by the board under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall include in the report of the Secretary under section 4(b) notice of such approval and the Secretary's reasons for not following the recommendation of the board with respect to that project.

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

(a) IN GENERAL- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the Construction, Major Projects, account for projects under section 2--

(1) $500,000,000 for fiscal year 2004;

(2) $600,000,000 for fiscal year 2005; and

(3) $700,000,000 for fiscal year 2006.

(b) LIMITATION- Projects may be carried out under section 2 only using funds appropriated pursuant to the authorization of appropriations in subsection (a), except that funds appropriated for advance planning may be used for the purposes for which appropriated in connection with such projects.

SEC. 4. REPORTS.

(a) GAO REPORT- Not later than April 1, 2005, the Comptroller General shall submit to the Committees on Veterans' Affairs and on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives a report evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of congressional authorization for projects of the type described in section 2(b) through general authorization as provided by section 2(a), rather than through specific authorization as would otherwise be applicable under section 8104(a)(2) of title 38, United States Code. Such report shall include a description of the actions of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs during fiscal year 2004 to select and carry out projects under section 2.

(b) SECRETARY REPORT- Not later than 120 days after the date on which the site for the final project under section 2 for each such fiscal year is selected, the Secretary shall submit to the committees referred to in subsection (a) a report on the authorization process under section 2. The Secretary shall include in each such report the following:

(1) A listing by project of each such project selected by the Secretary under that section, together with a prospectus description of the purposes of the project, the estimated cost of the project, and a statement attesting to the review of the project under section 2(c), and, if that project was not recommended by the board, the Secretary's justification under section 2(d) for not following the recommendation of the board.

(2) An assessment of the utility to the Department of Veterans Affairs of that authorization process.

(3) Such recommendations as the Secretary considers appropriate for future congressional policy for authorizations of major and minor medical facility construction projects for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(4) Any other matter that the Secretary considers to be appropriate with respect to oversight by Congress of capital facilities projects of the Department of Veterans Affairs.




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