H.R. 5109 - Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Personnel Act of 2000
(Rep. Stearns (R) Florida and 46 cosponsors)
The Administration would support H.R. 5109, the Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) Health Care Personnel Act, if it is amended to resolve the
Administration's concerns with the bill. H.R. 5109 would make several
changes in personnel policy for VA health care professionals and
adjustments to the administration of VA medical services.
Specifically, the Administration will work with Congress to amend
provisions in H.R. 5109 that would:
Create a pilot program shifting veteran medical services from VA to the
private sector. The proposed pilot would change VA from a provider to
an insurer since VA would be reimbursing private health care
providers. While the Administration expects that the current
infrastructure realignment study, championed by the Administration and
Congress, will include options whereby VA enters into sharing
contracts with private providers in some areas, we do not support
moving to a system where they turn from a provider role for veterans
to an insurer role. This pilot program would jeopardize VA's ability
to manage veterans' care, undermine the ability of the VA system to
maintain specialized medical services, and create a disparate
eligibility status based on a veteran's third party insurance
coverage. This provision should be deleted.
Increase special pay (based on post-graduate training, location,
speciality, etc.) for VA dentists. VA is preparing to conduct the
statutorily-mandated quadrennial study and report to Congress on
special pay. It will be conducted next year and will provide a
comprehensive review of the adequacy of pay levels for physicians and
dentists. Any appropriate adjustments to VA dentist pay should be
based on the analysis of this study.
H.R. 5109 would affect direct spending; therefore, it is subject to the
pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) requirements of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
of 1990. OMB's estimate is under development. The Administration will
work with Congress to ensure that an unintended sequester does not occur.