Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010
(Public Law 111-163)

Bill Summary

On May 5, President Obama signed the Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 into law. This new law authorizes several initiatives related to service members, veterans, and their families, with particular focus on caregivers of veterans, mental health services, women veterans, homeless veterans, veterans in rural areas, and research and education. APA specifically worked in support of several key provisions related to the needs of family caregivers of veterans and several special populations of veterans. Below is an overview of some of the key provisions in this new law. 

Authorizes the Following Related to Caregivers of Veterans

  • Approved family caregivers to receive:

• Training in providing personal care services to the veteran
• Ongoing technical support
• Counseling
• Lodging when accompanying the veteran to a Department facility

  • The family caregiver who is the designated primary provider of personal care services to receive in addition:

• Mental health services
• Respite care not less than 30 days, including 24-hour per day care 
• Medical care
• A monthly stipend

Authorizes the Following Related to Mental Health Care

  • The eligibility of any OEF/OIF service member to receive readjustment counseling and related mental health services

  • A study on the suicide rate among veterans will be conducted

  • The enhancement of quality management by designating a National Quality Management Officer and Quality Management Officers for VISNs

  • A pilot program to assess using community-based organizations and State and local entities in veterans care to:

• Increase coordination among providers 
• Increase availability of medical and mental health services
• Provide assistance to families of veterans who are transitioning to civilian life
• Provide outreach to veterans and their families   

  • The prohibition of collection of co payments from veterans who are catastrophically disabled

  • Higher priority status for veterans who received the Medal of Honor

  • The establishment of a Committee on Care of Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury

  • An increase in dollar amount to disabled veterans for improvements and structural alterations as part of home health services

  • Enhanced authority for the retention of medical professionals

  • The reauthorization of the Health Professionals Educational Assistance Scholarship Program

  • A loan repayment program for clinical researchers from disadvantaged backgrounds working for the VHA (in consultation with NIH)

Authorizes the Following Related to Women Veterans

  • A study of barriers for women to receive health care from the VA

  • Training and certification for mental health care providers for veterans suffering from sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder

• Reporting requirements include:

- The number of health professionals who have been certified in this program
- The number of women who’ve benefited from such counseling and care
- The number of employees required in each facility to meet the needs of veterans requiring such treatment 
- Recommendations for improvements in the treatment of women veterans with sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder

  • A pilot program on counseling in retreat settings (no fewer than three) for women veterans newly separated from service through the Readjustment Counseling Service of the VHA

  • The inclusion of women recently separated from service on the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans and the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans

  • A pilot program that provides assistance to qualified veterans to obtain child care so that those veterans can receive their own health care at a Department facility

  • Health care services to a newborn child of a woman veteran receiving maternity care at a Department facility

Authorizes the Following Related to Rural Health Improvements

  • Demonstration projects for expanding care for veterans in rural areas by forming partnerships between the VA and CMS and the VA and DHHS

  • A program (including contracts with community health centers and other providers) to provide readjustment and mental health care services for veterans who served in OEF/OIF 

• Services for veterans includes:

- Peer outreach services
- Peer support services
- Readjustment counseling and services
- Mental health services

• Services for immediate family members of OEF/OIF veterans including education, support, counseling, and mental health services to assist in:

- The readjustment of the veteran to civilian life
- (If the veteran was injured) recovery from injury or illness
- The readjustment of the family following the return of the veteran

  • Travel reimbursement to veterans coming to Department facilities

  • Grants to veterans service organizations for transportation of veterans in highly rural areas  

Authorizes the Following Related to Research and Education

  • The establishment of Nonprofit Research Corporations which are multi-medical center research corporations in order to provide a “flexible funding mechanism” to conduct research, education, or both at more than one Department medical center