According to Webster: “ac·tu·al,” Existing and (not) merely potential or possible.
113th Congress, 2013–2015. Text as of Oct 29, 2013 (Introduced).
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
October 29, 2013
Mr. Blumenthal introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
To establish in the Department of Veterans Affairs a national center for the diagnosis, treatment, and research of health conditions of the descendants of veterans exposed to toxic substances during service in the Armed Forces, to provide certain services to those descendants, to establish an advisory board on exposure to toxic substances, and for other purposes.
1. Short title
This Act may be cited as the Toxic Exposure Research and Military Family Support Act of 2013.
In this Act:
(1) Armed Force.
The term Armed Force means the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard, including the reserve components thereof.
The term descendant means, with respect to an individual, the biological child, grandchild, or great-grandchild of that individual.
(3) Toxic substance.
The term toxic substance shall have the meaning given that term by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and shall include all substances that have been proven by peer reviewed scientific research or a preponderance of opinion in the medical community to lead to disabilities related to the exposure of an individual to those substances while serving as a member of the Armed Forces.
The term veteran has the meaning given that term in section 101 of title 38, United States Code.
3. National center for the diagnosis, treatment, and research of health conditions of the descendants of individuals exposed to toxic substances during service in the Armed Forces.
(a) National center.
Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall select a medical center of the Department of Veterans Affairs to serve as the national center for the diagnosis, treatment, and research of health conditions of descendants of individuals exposed to toxic substances while serving as members of the Armed Forces that are related to that exposure (in this section referred to as the Center ).
Criteria for selection.
The Center shall be selected under paragraph (1) from among medical centers of the Department with expertise in diagnosing and treating functional and structural birth defects and caring for individuals exposed to toxic substances, or that are affiliated with research medical centers or teaching hospitals with such expertise, that seek to be selected under this section.
Diagnosis and treatment.
The Center may diagnose and treat, without charge, each patient for whom the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has made the following determinations:
The patient is a descendant of an individual who served as a member of the Armed Forces.
The individual was exposed to a toxic substance while serving as a member of the Armed Forces.
The patient is afflicted with a health condition that is determined by the advisory board established in section 4 to be a health condition that results from the exposure of that individual to that toxic substance.
Treatment under this section is limited to treatment of health conditions for which the advisory board established in section 4 has made a determination described in subparagraph.
(C) Additional diagnosis and treatment.
Nothing in this section shall preclude a patient from receiving additional diagnosis or treatment at the Center or another facility of the Department in connection with other health conditions or benefits to which the individual is entitled under laws administered by the Secretary.
(D) Recommendations for future treatment.
Recommendations for future treatment of a patient shall be transmitted to a primary care provider for that patient, with follow-up consultations with the Center scheduled as appropriate.
(E) Use of records.
The Secretary of Defense or the head of a Federal agency may make available to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for review records held by the Department of Defense, an Armed Force, or that Federal agency, as appropriate, that might assist the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in making the determinations required by subparagraph.
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Defense or the head of the appropriate Federal agency may jointly establish a mechanism for the availability and review of records by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under clause.
The Center may conduct research on the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions of descendants of individuals exposed to toxic substances while serving as members of the Armed Forces that are related to that exposure.
(c) Social workers.
The Center shall employ not less than one licensed clinical social worker to coordinate access of patients to appropriate Federal, State, and local social and healthcare programs and to handle case management.
(d) Reimbursement for necessary travel and room and board.
The Center may reimburse any parent, guardian, spouse, or sibling who accompanies a patient diagnosed or treated pursuant to this section for the reasonable cost of—
travel to the Center for diagnosis or treatment of the patient pursuant to this section; and room and board during the period in which the patient is undergoing diagnosis or treatment at the Center pursuant to this section.
Not less frequently than annually, the Center shall submit a report to Congress that includes the following:
A summary of the extent and nature of care provided pursuant to this section.
A summary of the research efforts of the Center under this section that have been completed within the previous year and that are ongoing as of the date of the submission of the report under this subsection.
Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish an advisory board (in this section referred to as the Advisory Board) to advise the Center established under section 3, to determine which health conditions result from exposure to toxic substances, and to study and evaluate cases of exposure of current and former members of the Armed Forces to toxic substances if such exposure is related the service of the member in the Armed Forces.
Not later than 150 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and other heads of Federal agencies as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs determines appropriate, select not less than 13 members of the Advisory Board, of whom—
not less than three shall be members of organizations exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;
not less than one shall be—
a descendant of an individual who was exposed to toxic substances while serving as a member of the Armed Forces and the descendant has manifested a birth defect or functional disability as a result of the exposure of that individual; or a parent, child, or grandchild of that descendant; and additional members may be selected from among – health professionals, scientists, and academics with expertise in – birth defects; developmental disabilities; epigenetics; public health; the science of environmental exposure or environmental exposure assessment; or the science of toxic substances.
Social workers; and advocates for veterans or members of the Armed Forces…. (Source, govtrack.us).
Editorial: The Bill (S-1602) continues on for another 20 pages or so…
Anyone interested in reading the text further, need only “Google” Senate bill (S-1602) and…
You will be provided with enough information to keep you reading until next Thursday.
If you, a family member, a friend or anyone you know suffers from a chronic illness, or a birth defect directly related to the chemical exposure of a US military veteran, it would be my most fervent suggestion that you contact your local Veterans Administration office for further information.
The information provided in today’s offering was at the request of my friend Tom.
Truth forges understanding, I’ll be back tomorrow