Appendix F
Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense Contingency

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves as the primary medical backup to the military health care system during and immediately following an outbreak of war or national emergency. The VA/Department of Defense (DoD) Contingency Hospital System Plan outlines how the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) supports that effort.

BACKGROUND

The VA/DoD Health Resources Sharing and Emergency Operation Act (Public Law 97–174) was enacted on May 4, 1982. This law gave VA a new mission: to serve as the principal health care backup to DoD in the event of war or national emergency that involves armed conflict. In addition to the contingency mission, this public law amended Title 38, United States Code (U.S.C.), to promote greater peacetime sharing of health care resources between VA and DoD.

In response to Public Law 97–174, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was executed between the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of Veterans Administration (presently the Secretary of Veterans Affairs), specifying each agency’s responsibilities under the law.

DoD maintains medical operations plans that would coordinate the receipt, distribution, and treatment of returning military casualties. The VA/DoD Contingency Hospital System Plan describes how VA hospital beds would be made available to treat returning military casualties.



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OCR for page 252
Biological Threats and Terrorism: Assessing the Science and Response Capabilities - Workshop Summary Appendix F Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense Contingency The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves as the primary medical backup to the military health care system during and immediately following an outbreak of war or national emergency. The VA/Department of Defense (DoD) Contingency Hospital System Plan outlines how the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) supports that effort. BACKGROUND The VA/DoD Health Resources Sharing and Emergency Operation Act (Public Law 97–174) was enacted on May 4, 1982. This law gave VA a new mission: to serve as the principal health care backup to DoD in the event of war or national emergency that involves armed conflict. In addition to the contingency mission, this public law amended Title 38, United States Code (U.S.C.), to promote greater peacetime sharing of health care resources between VA and DoD. In response to Public Law 97–174, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was executed between the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of Veterans Administration (presently the Secretary of Veterans Affairs), specifying each agency’s responsibilities under the law. DoD maintains medical operations plans that would coordinate the receipt, distribution, and treatment of returning military casualties. The VA/DoD Contingency Hospital System Plan describes how VA hospital beds would be made available to treat returning military casualties.

OCR for page 252
Biological Threats and Terrorism: Assessing the Science and Response Capabilities - Workshop Summary VA/DOD CONTINGENCY ANNUAL REPORT Annually, VA medical centers estimate the number of beds that could potentially be made available to receive returning military casualties. These reported bed estimates take into account the impact on local operations of VA employees subject to military call up. This annual report includes Estimated VA Contingency Beds and VHA Employees Subject to Mobilization. An annual report is provided by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to select members of Congress. BED AVAILABILITY REPORTING EXERCISES Quarterly estimates of VA/DoD contingency beds are gathered from VA medical centers nationally. These exercises are conducted quarterly in order to maintain VA’s awareness and readiness to respond in a timely fashion should the VA/DoD Contingency Hospital System be activated. POINT OF CONTACTS FOR VA/DOD CONTINGENCY VA/DoD Annual Report: Philip Wooten Director, Plans Phone: 304-264-4837 Fax: 304-264-4499 VA/DoD Quarterly Bed Report: Michael Vojtasko Director, Operations Phone: 304-264-4801 Fax: 304-264-4810   SOURCE: www.va.gov/emshg