(1) The Secretary shall establish access standards for furnishing hospital care, medical services, or extended care services to covered veterans for the purposes of section 1703(d).
(2) The Secretary shall ensure that the access standards established under paragraph (1) define such categories of care to cover all care and services within the medical benefits package of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
(b) The Secretary shall ensure that the access standards provide covered veterans, employees of the Department, and health care providers in the network established under section 1703(h) with relevant comparative information that is clear, useful, and timely, so that covered veterans can make informed decisions regarding their health care.
(c) The Secretary shall consult with all pertinent Federal entities (including the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), entities in the private sector, and other nongovernmental entities in establishing access standards.
(1) Not later than 270 days after the date of the enactment of the Caring for Our Veterans Act of 2018, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report detailing the access standards.
(A) Before submitting the report required under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall provide periodic updates to the appropriate committees of Congress to confirm the Department's progress towards developing the access standards required by this section.
(B) The first update under subparagraph (A) shall occur no later than 120 days from the date of the enactment of the Caring for Our Veterans Act of 2018.
(3) Not later than 540 days after the date on which the Secretary implements the access standards established under subsection (a), the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report detailing the implementation of and compliance with such access standards by Department and non-Department entities or providers.
(e) Not later than 3 years after the date on which the Secretary establishes access standards under subsection (a) and not less frequently than once every 3 years thereafter, the Secretary shall—
(1) conduct a review of such standards; and
(2) submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on the findings and any modification to the access standards with respect to the review conducted under paragraph (1).
(f) The Secretary shall ensure health care providers specified under section 1703(c) are able to comply with the applicable access standards established by the Secretary.
(g) The Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register and on an internet website of the Department the designated access standards established under this section for purposes of section 1703(d)(1)(D).
(1) Consistent with paragraphs (1)(D) and (3) of section 1703(d), covered veterans may contact the Department at any time to request a determination regarding whether they are eligible to receive care and services from a non-Department entity or provider based on the Department being unable to furnish such care and services in a manner that complies with the designated access standards established under this section.
(2) The Secretary shall establish a process to review such requests from covered veterans to determine whether—
(A) the requested care is clinically necessary; and
(B) the Department is able to provide such care in a manner that complies with designated access standards established under this section.
(3) The Secretary shall promptly respond to any such request by a covered veteran.
(i) In this section:
(1) The term "appropriate committees of Congress" means—
(A) the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and
(B) the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.
(2) The term "covered veterans" means veterans described in section 1703(b) of this title.
References in Text
The date of the enactment of the Caring for Our Veterans Act of 2018, referred to in subsec. (d)(1), (2)(B), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 115–182, which was approved June 6, 2018.
2018—Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 115–251 inserted introductory provisions, substituted "means" for "refers to" in par. (2), and realigned margins.