PUBLIC LAW 107-287 NOVEMBER 7, 2002
Department of Veterans Affairs
Emergency Preparedness Act of 2002
Prime Sponsor: Mr. Christopher H. Smith (NJ)
H.R. 3253, Signed by the President on November 7, 2002
To amend title 38, United States Code, to enhance emergency preparedness of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
(Sec. 2) Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish four medical emergency preparedness centers within Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers to: (1) research and develop methods of detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of injuries, diseases, and illnesses arising from the use of chemical, biological, radiological, or incendiary or other explosive weapons or devices posing threats to the public health and safety; (2) provide education, training, and advice to health-care professionals; and (3) provide laboratory, epidemiological, medical, and other appropriate assistance to Federal, State, and local health care agencies and personnel involved in or responding to a disaster or emergency.Sets forth criteria for selecting center sites, including the development of arrangements for education and training with qualifying medical or public health schools, epidemiological graduate programs, and allied health personnel and students as well as the ability to attract the appropriate scientists. Requires the dissemination of information produced from such research to U.S. health-care providers. Directs the Under Secretary for Health to allocate to such centers additional funds otherwise appropriated for veterans' medical care and research. Authorizes appropriations for FY 2003 through 2007. Directs the Under Secretary to establish a peer review panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of center designation proposals.
(Sec. 3) Directs the Secretary to develop and disseminate a series of model education and training programs on the medical responses to the consequences of terrorist activities. Requires such programs to be modeled after programs established at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Requires such programs to provide training for health care professionals in the recognition of chemical, biological, radiological, incendiary, or other explosive agents, the identification of symptoms of exposure to such agents, emergency and follow-up treatment for exposure, potential long-term health consequences, and protection against contamination, injury, or other hazards while providing care. Requires that different programs be designed for health-care professionals in Department medical centers.
(Sec. 4) Authorizes the Secretary to furnish hospital care and medical services to: (1) individuals responding to, involved in, or otherwise affected by a disaster or medical emergency; (2) veterans without regard to their enrollment in the Department's annual patient enrollment system; and (3) active-duty military personnel responding to or involved in the disaster or emergency. Requires the Secretary, within 60 days of providing any such care or services, to report to the congressional veterans' committees on allocated facilities and personnel.
(Sec. 5) Establishes within the Department the position of Assistant Secretary with responsibility for operations, preparedness, security, and law enforcement functions.
(Sec. 6) Codifies under Federal law certain provisions of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 enumerating duties of the Secretary relating to emergency preparedness within the Department.