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US Department of Veterans’ Affairs
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Introduced in House (04/14/2015)
Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015
Directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to select a VA medical center to serve as the national center for research on the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions of the biological children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren of individuals exposed to toxic substances while serving as members of the Armed Forces that are related to such exposure.
Requires: (1) the Department of Defense (DoD) or the head of a federal agency to make available to the VA for review records held by DoD, an Armed Force, or that federal agency that might assist the VA in making determinations regarding individuals and descendants afflicted with a health condition as a result of such exposure; (2) the VA and DoD or such agency head to jointly establish a mechanism for the availability and review of records by the VA; and (3) the national center to employ at least one licensed clinical social worker to coordinate access of individuals to appropriate social and health care programs and to handle case management.
Establishes an Advisory Board to oversee and assess the national center and to advise the VA regarding the center’s work.
Directs DoD to declassify documents (other than documents that would materially and immediately threaten national security) related to any known incident in which at least 100 members of the Armed Forces were exposed to a toxic substance that resulted in at least one case of an associated disability.
Directs the VA to conduct a national outreach and education campaign directed toward members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their family members to communicate information on: (1) incidents of exposure of members of the Armed Forces to toxic substances, health conditions resulting from such exposure, and the potential long-term effects; and (2) the national center. Requires DoD and the Department of Health and Human Services to assist the VA in implementing such campaign.
Introduced in House (04/29/2015)
Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2015
Defines a “covered individual” as an individual who is a Vietnam resident and who: (1) is affected by health issues related to Agent Orange exposure which took place between January 1, 1961, and May 7, 1975; (2) lives or had lived in or near geographic areas in Vietnam that continue to contain high levels of Agent Orange; or (3) is affected by such health issues as the child or descendant of such an individual.
Directs the Secretary of State to provide assistance: (1) to address the health care needs of covered individuals, (2) to institutions in Vietnam that provide health care to such individuals, (3) to repair and rebuild substandard homes in Vietnam for covered individuals and their families, and (4) to remediate geographic areas of Vietnam that contain high levels of Agent Orange.
Directs the Secretary and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide assistance to support research relating to health issues of individuals affected by Agent Orange.
Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to: (1) make grants to appropriate public health organizations and Vietnamese-American organizations to conduct a broad health assessment of Vietnamese-Americans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange and their children or descendants; and (2) establish centers in U.S. locations where large populations of Vietnamese-Americans reside to provide assessment, counseling, and treatment for conditions related to Agent Orange exposure.
Amends Veterans’ benefits provisions to provide benefits to the children of male (currently only female) Vietnam Veterans who are affected by certain birth defects. Requires the VA Secretary to require any health care provider with whom the Secretary enters into a contract for the provision of health care to such children to provide the VA access to the medical records of such children for research into the intergenerational effects of Agent Orange exposure.
(a) Compensation – Subsections (a)(1) and (f) of section 1116 of title 38, United States Code, are amended by inserting “(including the territorial seas of such Republic)” after “served in the Republic of Vietnam” each place it appears.
(b) Health Care – Section 1710(e)(4) of such title is amended by inserting “(including the territorial seas of such Republic)” after “served on active duty in the Republic of Vietnam”.
(c) Effective Date – The amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect as of September 25, 1985.