(2) The Director of the Office of Patient Advocacy shall be appointed by the Under Secretary for Health from among individuals qualified to perform the duties of the position and shall report directly to the Under Secretary for Health.
(2) In carrying out the Patient Advocacy Program of the Department, the Director shall ensure that patient advocates of the Department—
(A) advocate on behalf of veterans with respect to health care received and sought by veterans under the laws administered by the Secretary;
(B) carry out the responsibilities specified in subsection (d); and
(C) receive training in patient advocacy.
(1) To resolve complaints by veterans with respect to health care furnished under the laws administered by the Secretary that cannot be resolved at the point of service or at a higher level easily accessible to the veteran.
(2) To present at various meetings and to various committees the issues experienced by veterans in receiving such health care at such medical facility.
(3) To express to veterans their rights and responsibilities as patients in receiving such health care.
(4) To manage the Patient Advocate Tracking System of the Department at such medical facility.
(5) To compile data at such medical facility of complaints made by veterans with respect to the receipt of such health care at such medical facility and the satisfaction of veterans with such health care at such medical facility to determine whether there are trends in such data.
(6) To ensure that a process is in place for the distribution of the data compiled under paragraph (5) to appropriate leaders, committees, services, and staff of the Department.
(7) To identify, not less frequently than quarterly, opportunities for improvements in the furnishing of such health care to veterans at such medical facility based on complaints by veterans.
(8) To ensure that any significant complaint by a veteran with respect to such health care is brought to the attention of appropriate staff of the Department to trigger an assessment of whether there needs to be a further analysis of the problem at the facility-wide level.
(9) To support any patient advocacy programs carried out by the Department.
(10) To ensure that all appeals and final decisions with respect to the receipt of such health care are entered into the Patient Advocate Tracking System of the Department.
(11) To understand all laws, directives, and other rules with respect to the rights and responsibilities of veterans in receiving such health care, including the appeals processes available to veterans.
(12) To ensure that veterans receiving mental health care, or the surrogate decision-makers for such veterans, are aware of the rights of veterans to seek representation from systems established under section 103 of the Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986 1 (42 U.S.C. 10803) to protect and advocate the rights of individuals with mental illness and to investigate incidents of abuse and neglect of such individuals.
(13) To fulfill requirements established by the Secretary with respect to the inspection of controlled substances.
(14) To document potentially threatening behavior and report such behavior to appropriate authorities.
References in Text
The Protection and Advocacy for Mentally Ill Individuals Act of 1986, referred to in subsec. (d)(12), was renamed the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Act by Pub. L. 106–310, div. B, title XXXII, §3206(a), Oct. 17, 2000, 114 Stat. 1193.
Date Fully Operational
Pub. L. 114–198, title IX, §924(c), July 22, 2016, 130 Stat. 769, provided that: "The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall ensure that the Office of Patient Advocacy established under section 7309A of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), is fully operational not later than the date that is one year after the date of the enactment of this Act [July 22, 2016]."1 See References in Text note below.