38 USC 1712 - Dental care; drugs and medicines for certain disabled veterans; vaccines
Sec. 1712. Dental care; drugs and medicines for certain disabled veterans; vaccines(a)
(1) Outpatient dental services and treatment, and related dental appliances, shall be furnished under this section only for a dental condition or disability—
(A) which is service-connected and compensable in degree;
(B) which is service-connected, but not compensable in degree, but only if—
(i) the dental condition or disability is shown to have been in existence at the time of the veteran’s discharge or release from active military, naval, or air service;
(ii) the veteran had served on active duty for a period of not less than 180 days or, in the case of a veteran who served on active duty during the Persian Gulf War, 90 days immediately before such discharge or release;
(iii) application for treatment is made within 180 days after such discharge or release, except that
(I) in the case of a veteran who reentered active military, naval, or air service within 90 days after the date of such veteran’s prior discharge or release from such service, application may be made within 180 days from the date of such veteran’s subsequent discharge or release from such service, and
(II) if a disqualifying discharge or release has been corrected by competent authority, application may be made within 180 days after the date of correction; and
(iv) the veteran’s certificate of discharge or release from active duty does not bear a certification that the veteran was provided, within the 90-day period immediately before the date of such discharge or release, a complete dental examination (including dental X-rays) and all appropriate dental services and treatment indicated by the examination to be needed;
(C) which is a service-connected dental condition or disability due to combat wounds or other service trauma, or of a former prisoner of war;
(D) which is associated with and is aggravating a disability resulting from some other disease or injury which was incurred in or aggravated by active military, naval, or air service;
(E) which is a non-service-connected condition or disability of a veteran for which treatment was begun while such veteran was receiving hospital care under this chapter and such services and treatment are reasonably necessary to complete such treatment;
(F) from which a veteran who is a former prisoner of war is suffering;
(G) from which a veteran who has a service-connected disability rated as total is suffering; or
(H) the treatment of which is medically necessary
(i) in preparation for hospital admission, or
(ii) for a veteran otherwise receiving care or services under this chapter.
(2) The Secretary concerned shall at the time a member of the Armed Forces is discharged or released from a period of active military, naval, or air service of not less than 180 days or, in the case of a veteran who served on active duty during the Persian Gulf War, 90 days provide to such member a written explanation of the provisions of clause (B) of paragraph (1) of this subsection and enter in the service records of the member a statement signed by the member acknowledging receipt of such explanation (or, if the member refuses to sign such statement, a certification from an officer designated for such purpose by the Secretary concerned that the member was provided such explanation).
(3) The total amount which the Secretary may expend for furnishing, during any twelve-month period, outpatient dental services, treatment, or related dental appliances to a veteran under this section through private facilities for which the Secretary has contracted under clause (1), (2), or (5) of section 1703 (a) of this title may not exceed $1,000 unless the Secretary determines, prior to the furnishing of such services, treatment, or appliances and based on an examination of the veteran by a dentist employed by the Department (or, in an area where no such dentist is available, by a dentist conducting such examination under a contract or fee arrangement), that the furnishing of such services, treatment, or appliances at such cost is reasonably necessary.
(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, in any year in which the President’s Budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1 of such year includes an amount for expenditures for contract dental care under the provisions of this subsection and section 1703 of this title during such fiscal year in excess of the level of expenditures made for such purpose during fiscal year 1978, the Secretary shall, not later than February 15 of such year, submit a report to the appropriate committees of the Congress justifying the requested level of expenditures for contract dental care and explaining why the application of the criteria prescribed in section 1703 of this title for contracting with private facilities and in the second sentence of section 1710 (c) of this title for furnishing incidental dental care to hospitalized veterans will not preclude the need for expenditures for contract dental care in excess of the fiscal year 1978 level of expenditures for such purpose. In any case in which the amount included in the President’s Budget for any fiscal year for expenditures for contract dental care under such provisions is not in excess of the level of expenditures made for such purpose during fiscal year 1978 and the Secretary determines after the date of submission of such budget and before the end of such fiscal year that the level of expenditures for such contract dental care during such fiscal year will exceed the fiscal year 1978 level of expenditures, the Secretary shall submit a report to the appropriate committees of the Congress containing both a justification (with respect to the projected level of expenditures for such fiscal year) and an explanation as required in the preceding sentence in the case of a report submitted pursuant to such sentence. Any report submitted pursuant to this paragraph shall include a comment by the Secretary on the effect of the application of the criteria prescribed in the second sentence of section 1710 (c) of this title for furnishing incidental dental care to hospitalized veterans.
(B) A report under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph with respect to a fiscal year is not required if, in the documents submitted by the Secretary to the Congress in justification for the amounts included for Department programs in the President’s Budget, the Secretary specifies with respect to contract dental care described in such subparagraph—
(i) the actual level of expenditures for such care in the fiscal year preceding the fiscal year in which such Budget is submitted;
(ii) a current estimate of the level of expenditures for such care in the fiscal year in which such Budget is submitted; and
(iii) the amount included in such Budget for such care.
(b) Dental services and related appliances for a dental condition or disability described in paragraph (1)(B) of subsection (a) shall be furnished on a one-time completion basis, unless the services rendered on a one-time completion basis are found unacceptable within the limitations of good professional standards, in which event such additional services may be afforded as are required to complete professionally acceptable treatment.
(c) Dental appliances, wheelchairs, artificial limbs, trusses, special clothing, and similar appliances to be furnished by the Secretary under this section may be procured by the Secretary either by purchase or by manufacture, whichever the Secretary determines may be advantageous and reasonably necessary.
(d) The Secretary shall furnish to each veteran who is receiving additional compensation or allowance under chapter 11 of this title, or increased pension as a veteran of a period of war, by reason of being permanently housebound or in need of regular aid and attendance, such drugs and medicines as may be ordered on prescription of a duly licensed physician as specific therapy in the treatment of any illness or injury suffered by such veteran. The Secretary shall continue to furnish such drugs and medicines so ordered to any such veteran in need of regular aid and attendance whose pension payments have been discontinued solely because such veteran’s annual income is greater than the applicable maximum annual income limitation, but only so long as such veteran’s annual income does not exceed such maximum annual income limitation by more than $1,000.
(e) In order to assist the Secretary of Health and Human Services in carrying out national immunization programs under other provisions of law, the Secretary may authorize the administration of immunizations to eligible veterans who voluntarily request such immunizations in connection with the provision of care for a disability under this chapter in any Department health care facility. Any such immunization shall be made using vaccine furnished by the Secretary of Health and Human Services at no cost to the Department. For such purpose, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services may provide such vaccine to the Department at no cost. Section 7316 of this title shall apply to claims alleging negligence or malpractice on the part of Department personnel granted immunity under such section.
Last modified: July 21, 2011