38 U.S.C. § 1710 - Eligibility for hospital, nursing home, and domiciliary care

Cite as:38 U.S.C. § 1710
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-252 (12/22/2020)
 
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(a)

(1) The Secretary (subject to paragraph (4)) shall furnish hospital care and medical services which the Secretary determines to be needed-

(A) to any veteran for a service-connected disability; and

(B) to any veteran who has a service-connected disability rated at 50 percent or more.

(2) The Secretary (subject to paragraph (4)) shall furnish hospital care and medical services, and may furnish nursing home care, which the Secretary determines to be needed to any veteran-

(A) who has a compensable service-connected disability rated less than 50 percent or, with respect to nursing home care during any period during which the provisions of section 1710A(a) of this title are in effect, a compensable service-connected disability rated less than 70 percent;

(B) whose discharge or release from active military, naval, or air service was for a disability that was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty;

(C) who is in receipt of, or who, but for a suspension pursuant to section 1151 of this title (or both a suspension and the receipt of retired pay), would be entitled to disability compensation, but only to the extent that such veteran's continuing eligibility for such care is provided for in the judgment or settlement provided for in such section;

(D) who is a former prisoner of war, who was awarded the medal of honor under section 7271, 8291, or 9271 of title 10 or section 491 1 of title 14, or who was awarded the Purple Heart;

(E) who is a veteran of the Mexican border period or of World War I;

(F) who was exposed to a toxic substance, radiation, or other conditions, as provided in subsection (e); or

(G) who is unable to defray the expenses of necessary care as determined under section 1722(a) of this title.

(3) In the case of a veteran who is not described in paragraphs (1) and (2), the Secretary may, to the extent resources and facilities are available and subject to the provisions of subsections (f) and (g), furnish hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care which the Secretary determines to be needed.

(4) The requirement in paragraphs (1) and (2) that the Secretary furnish hospital care and medical services, the requirement in section 1710A(a) of this title that the Secretary provide nursing home care, the requirement in section 1710B of this title that the Secretary provide a program of extended care services, and the requirement in section 1745 of this title to provide nursing home care and prescription medicines to veterans with service-connected disabilities in State homes shall be effective in any fiscal year only to the extent and in the amount provided in advance in appropriations Acts for such purposes.

(5) During any period during which the provisions of section 1710A(a) of this title are not in effect, the Secretary may furnish nursing home care which the Secretary determines is needed to any veteran described in paragraph (1), with the priority for such care on the same basis as if provided under that paragraph.

(b)

(1) The Secretary may furnish to a veteran described in paragraph (2) of this subsection such domiciliary care as the Secretary determines is needed for the purpose of the furnishing of medical services to the veteran.

(2) This subsection applies in the case of the following veterans:

(A) Any veteran whose annual income (as determined under section 1503 of this title) does not exceed the maximum annual rate of pension that would be applicable to the veteran if the veteran were eligible for pension under section 1521(d) of this title.

(B) Any veteran who the Secretary determines has no adequate means of support.

(c) While any veteran is receiving hospital care or nursing home care in any Department facility, the Secretary may, within the limits of Department facilities, furnish medical services to correct or treat any non-service-connected disability of such veteran, in addition to treatment incident to the disability for which such veteran is hospitalized, if the veteran is willing, and the Secretary finds such services to be reasonably necessary to protect the health of such veteran. The Secretary may furnish dental services and treatment, and related dental appliances, under this subsection for a non-service-connected dental condition or disability of a veteran only (1) to the extent that the Secretary determines that the dental facilities of the Department to be used to furnish such services, treatment, or appliances are not needed to furnish services, treatment, or appliances for dental conditions or disabilities described in section 1712(a) of this title, or (2) if (A) such non-service-connected dental condition or disability is associated with or aggravating a disability for which such veteran is receiving hospital care, or (B) a compelling medical reason or a dental emergency requires furnishing dental services, treatment, or appliances (excluding the furnishing of such services, treatment, or appliances of a routine nature) to such veteran during the period of hospitalization under this section.

(d) In no case may nursing home care be furnished in a hospital not under the direct jurisdiction of the Secretary except as provided in section 1720 of this title.

(e)

(1)

(A) A Vietnam-era herbicide-exposed veteran is eligible (subject to paragraph (2)) for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care under subsection (a)(2)(F) for any disability, notwithstanding that there is insufficient medical evidence to conclude that such disability may be associated with such exposure.

(B) A radiation-exposed veteran is eligible for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care under subsection (a)(2)(F) for any disease suffered by the veteran that is-

(i) a disease listed in section 1112(c)(2) of this title; or

(ii) any other disease for which the Secretary, based on the advice of the Advisory Committee on Environmental Hazards, determines that there is credible evidence of a positive association between occurrence of the disease in humans and exposure to ionizing radiation.

(C) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, a veteran who served on active duty between August 2, 1990, and November 11, 1998, in the Southwest Asia theater of operations during the Persian Gulf War is eligible for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care under subsection (a)(2)(F) for any disability, notwithstanding that there is insufficient medical evidence to conclude that such disability may be associated with such service.

(D) Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), a veteran who served on active duty in a theater of combat operations (as determined by the Secretary in consultation with the Secretary of Defense) during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War, or in combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities after November 11, 1998, is eligible for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care under subsection (a)(2)(F) for any illness, notwithstanding that there is insufficient medical evidence to conclude that such condition is attributable to such service.

(E) Subject to paragraph (2), a veteran who participated in a test conducted by the Department of Defense Deseret Test Center as part of a program for chemical and biological warfare testing from 1962 through 1973 (including the program designated as "Project Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD)" and related land-based tests) is eligible for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care under subsection (a)(2)(F) for any illness, notwithstanding that there is insufficient medical evidence to conclude that such illness is attributable to such testing.

(F) Subject to paragraph (2), a veteran who served on active duty in the Armed Forces at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for not fewer than 30 days during the period beginning on August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987, is eligible for hospital care and medical services under subsection (a)(2)(F) for any of the following illnesses or conditions, notwithstanding that there is insufficient medical evidence to conclude that such illnesses or conditions are attributable to such service:

(i) Esophageal cancer.

(ii) Lung cancer.

(iii) Breast cancer.

(iv) Bladder cancer.

(v) Kidney cancer.

(vi) Leukemia.

(vii) Multiple myeloma.

(viii) Myelodysplastic syndromes.

(ix) Renal toxicity.

(x) Hepatic steatosis.

(xi) Female infertility.

(xii) Miscarriage.

(xiii) Scleroderma.

(xiv) Neurobehavioral effects.

(xv) Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

(2)

(A) In the case of a veteran described in paragraph (1)(A), hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care may not be provided under subsection (a)(2)(F) with respect to-

(i) a disability that is found, in accordance with guidelines issued by the Under Secretary for Health, to have resulted from a cause other than an exposure described in paragraph (4)(A)(ii); or

(ii) a disease for which the National Academy of Sciences, in a report issued in accordance with section 3 of the Agent Orange Act of 1991, has determined that there is limited or suggestive evidence of the lack of a positive association between occurrence of the disease in humans and exposure to a herbicide agent.

(B) In the case of a veteran described in subparagraph (C), (D), (E), or (F) of paragraph (1), hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care may not be provided under subsection (a)(2)(F) with respect to a disability that is found, in accordance with guidelines issued by the Under Secretary for Health, to have resulted from a cause other than the service or testing described in such subparagraph.

(3) In the case of care for a veteran described in paragraph (1)(D), hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care may be provided under or by virtue of subsection (a)(2)(F) only during the following periods:

(A) Except as provided by subparagraph (B), with respect to a veteran described in paragraph (1)(D) who is discharged or released from the active military, naval, or air service after January 27, 2003, the five-year period beginning on the date of such discharge or release.

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