S 1146

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 1146

To establish a pilot program under which veterans in the State of Alaska may receive health care benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs at non-Department medical facilities, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 6, 2011

Mr. BEGICH introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


A BILL

To establish a pilot program under which veterans in the State of Alaska may receive health care benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs at non-Department medical facilities, and for other purposes.

    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 `Alaska Hero's Card Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. PILOT PROGRAM ON PROVISION OF HEALTH CARE TO VETERANS RESIDING IN ALASKA AT NON-DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL FACILITIES.

    (a) In General- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish a pilot program to assess the feasibility and advisability of carrying out a program by which a covered veteran can, except as provided in subsection (f), receive necessary hospital care or medical services for any condition at any hospital or medical facility or from any medical provider eligible to receive payments under--

      (1) the Medicare program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395 et seq.);

      (2) the Medicaid program under title XIX of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.);

      (3) the TRICARE program; or

      (4) the Indian health program.

    (b) Covered Veteran- For purposes of this section, a covered veteran is any veteran who--

      (1) is entitled to hospital care or medical services under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs;

      (2) is located in the State of Alaska; and

      (3) resides at a location that is located in--

        (A) such State; and

        (B) a town, village, or other community that is not accessible by motor vehicle (as defined in section 30102 of title 49, United States Code).

    (c) Duration of Pilot- The pilot program shall be carried out during the two-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act.

    (d) Cost of Care and Service-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The cost of any hospital care or medical service provided under the pilot program shall be borne by the United States from amounts other than amounts appropriated or otherwise made available for an Indian health program.

      (2) NO BILLING OF VETERANS- The Secretary shall take measures to ensure that covered veterans are not billed for the hospital care and medical services they receive under the pilot program.

    (e) Alaska Hero Card- In carrying out the pilot program, the Secretary shall issue to each covered veteran a card to be known as a `Alaska Hero Card' that such veteran may present to an authorized provider to establish the covered veteran's eligibility for hospital care and medical services under the pilot program.

    (f) Authorized Providers- The Secretary may establish a list of authorized providers from whom a covered veteran may receive hospital care and medical services under the pilot program.

    (g) Measures To Ensure Quality and Safety of Care-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall take such measures as may be necessary to ensure that the quality and safety of care provided to veterans under the pilot program is equal to or better than the quality and safety of care otherwise provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

      (2) SPECIFIC MEASURES- The measures described in paragraph (1) may include requirements relating to the following:

        (A) Credentialing and accreditation of providers of hospital care or medical services.

        (B) Timely reporting of access to care.

        (C) Timely reporting of clinical information to the Secretary.

        (D) Reporting safety issues, patient complaints, and patient satisfaction.

        (E) Robust quality programs, including peer review and compliance with industry standards and requirements.

      (3) PROVIDERS CERTIFIED BY INDIAN HEALTH SERVICE- For purposes of the pilot program, the Secretary shall consider the equality and safety of care provided by a provider described in subsection (a)(2) who is certified by the Indian Health Service as a community health aide pursuant to section 119 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1616l) and who is providing services within the scope of such certification as being equal to or better than the quality and safety of care otherwise provided by the Department.

    (h) Savings- Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any right of recovery available to an Indian health program under the provisions of section 206 or 405(c) of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1621e and 1645(c)), or any other Federal or State law.

    (i) Definitions- In this section:

      (1) HOSPITAL CARE AND MEDICAL SERVICES- The terms `hospital care' and `medical services' have the meanings given such terms in section 1701 of title 38, United States Code.

      (2) INDIAN HEALTH PROGRAM- The term `Indian health program' has the meaning given such term in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1603).

      (3) SERVICE-CONNECTED- The term `service-connected' has the meaning given such term in section 101 of such title.

      (4) TRICARE PROGRAM- The term `TRICARE program' has the meaning given such term in section 1072 of title 10, United States Code.

END