38 U.S. Code § 7320 - Centers for mental illness research, education, and clinical activities

(a) The purpose of this section is to provide for the improvement of the provision of health-care services and related counseling services to eligible veterans suffering from mental illness (especially mental illness related to service-related conditions) through—
(1) the conduct of research (including research on improving mental health service facilities of the Department and on improving the delivery of mental health services by the Department);
(2) the education and training of health care personnel of the Department; and
(3) the development of improved models and systems for the furnishing of mental health services by the Department.
(b)
(1) The Secretary shall establish and operate centers for mental illness research, education, and clinical activities. Such centers shall be established and operated by collaborating Department facilities as provided in subsection (c)(1). Each such center shall function as a center for—
(A) research on mental health services;
(B) the use by the Department of specific models for furnishing services to treat serious mental illness;
(C) education and training of health-care professionals of the Department; and
(D) the development and implementation of innovative clinical activities and systems of care with respect to the delivery of such services by the Department.
(2) The Secretary shall, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, designate the centers under this section. In making such designations, the Secretary shall ensure that the centers designated are located in various geographic regions of the United States. The Secretary may designate a center under this section only if—
(A) the proposal submitted for the designation of the center meets the requirements of subsection (c);
(B) the Secretary makes the finding described in subsection (d); and
(C) the peer review panel established under subsection (e) makes the determination specified in subsection (e)(3) with respect to that proposal.
(3) Not more than five centers may be designated under this section.
(4) The authority of the Secretary to establish and operate centers under this section is subject to the appropriation of funds for that purpose.
(c) A proposal submitted for the designation of a center under this section shall—
(1) provide for close collaboration in the establishment and operation of the center, and for the provision of care and the conduct of research and education at the center, by a Department facility or facilities in the same geographic area which have a mission centered on care of the mentally ill and a Department facility in that area which has a mission of providing tertiary medical care;
(2) provide that no less than 50 percent of the funds appropriated for the center for support of clinical care, research, and education will be provided to the collaborating facility or facilities that have a mission centered on care of the mentally ill; and
(3) provide for a governance arrangement between the collaborating Department facilities which ensures that the center will be established and operated in a manner aimed at improving the quality of mental health care at the collaborating facility or facilities which have a mission centered on care of the mentally ill.
(d) The finding referred to in subsection (b)(2)(B) with respect to a proposal for designation of a site as a location of a center under this section is a finding by the Secretary, upon the recommendation of the Under Secretary for Health, that the facilities submitting the proposal have developed (or may reasonably be anticipated to develop) each of the following:
(1) An arrangement with an accredited medical school that provides education and training in psychiatry and with which one or more of the participating Department facilities is affiliated under which medical residents receive education and training in psychiatry through regular rotation through the participating Department facilities so as to provide such residents with training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
(2) An arrangement with an accredited graduate program of psychology under which students receive education and training in clinical, counseling, or professional psychology through regular rotation through the participating Department facilities so as to provide such students with training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
(3) An arrangement under which nursing, social work, counseling, or allied health personnel receive training and education in mental health care through regular rotation through the participating Department facilities.
(4) The ability to attract scientists who have demonstrated achievement in research—
(A) into the evaluation of innovative approaches to the design of mental health services; or
(B) into the causes, prevention, and treatment of mental illness.
(5) The capability to evaluate effectively the activities of the center, including activities relating to the evaluation of specific efforts to improve the quality and effectiveness of mental health services provided by the Department at or through individual facilities.
(e)
(1) In order to provide advice to assist the Secretary and the Under Secretary for Health to carry out their responsibilities under this section, the official within the central office of the Veterans Health Administration responsible for mental health and behavioral sciences matters shall establish a peer review panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals that are submitted to the Secretary for the designation of centers under this section.
(2) The panel shall consist of experts in the fields of mental health research, education and training, and clinical care. Members of the panel shall serve as consultants to the Department.
(3) The panel shall review each proposal submitted to the panel by the official referred to in paragraph (1) and shall submit to that official its views on the relative scientific and clinical merit of each such proposal. The panel shall specifically determine with respect to each such proposal whether that proposal is among those proposals which have met the highest competitive standards of scientific and clinical merit.
(4) The panel shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).
(f) Clinical and scientific investigation activities at each center established under this section—
(1) may compete for the award of funding from amounts appropriated for the Department of Veterans Affairs medical and prosthetics research account; and
(2) shall receive priority in the award of funding from such account insofar as funds are awarded to projects and activities relating to mental illness.
(g) The Under Secretary for Health shall ensure that at least three centers designated under this section emphasize research into means of improving the quality of care for veterans suffering from mental illness through the development of community-based alternatives to institutional treatment for such illness.
(h) The Under Secretary for Health shall ensure that information produced by the research, education and training, and clinical activities of centers established under this section that may be useful for other activities of the Veterans Health Administration is disseminated throughout the Veterans Health Administration. Such dissemination shall be made through publications, through programs of continuing medical and related education provided through regional medical education centers under subchapter VI of chapter 74 of this title, and through other means. Such programs of continuing medical education shall receive priority in the award of funding.
(i) The official within the central office of the Veterans Health Administration responsible for mental health and behavioral sciences matters shall be responsible for supervising the operation of the centers established pursuant to this section and shall provide for ongoing evaluation of the centers and their compliance with the requirements of this section.
(j)
(1) There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the basic support of the research and education and training activities of centers established pursuant to this section amounts as follows:
(A) $3,125,000 for fiscal year 1998.
(B) $6,250,000 for each of fiscal years 1999 through 2001.
(2) In addition to funds appropriated for a fiscal year pursuant to the authorization of appropriations in paragraph (1), the Under Secretary for Health shall allocate to such centers from other funds appropriated for that fiscal year generally for the Department of Veterans Affairs medical services account and the Department of Veterans Affairs medical and prosthetics research account such amounts as the Under Secretary for Health determines appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section.

Source

(Added Pub. L. 104–262, title III, § 334(a)(1),Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3200; amended Pub. L. 110–387, title IX, § 901(a)(8),Oct. 10, 2008, 122 Stat. 4142.)
References in Text

The Federal Advisory Committee Act, referred to in subsec. (e)(4), is Pub. L. 92–463, Oct. 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 770, as amended, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.
Amendments

2008—Subsec. (j)(2). Pub. L. 110–387substituted “medical services account” for “medical care account”.
Annual Reports On and Designation of Centers

Pub. L. 104–262, title III, § 334(b), (c),Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3203, 3204, provided that:
“(b) Annual Reports.—Not later than February 1 of each of 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives a report on the status and activities during the previous fiscal year of the centers for mental illness research, education, and clinical activities established pursuant to section 7320 of title 38, United States Code (as added by subsection (a)). Each such report shall include the following:
“(1) A description of the activities carried out at each center and the funding provided for such activities.
“(2) A description of the advances made at each of the participating facilities of the center in research, education and training, and clinical activities relating to mental illness in veterans.
“(3) A description of the actions taken by the Under Secretary for Health pursuant to subsection (h) of that section (as so added) to disseminate information derived from such activities throughout the Veterans Health Administration.
“(4) The Secretary’s evaluations of the effectiveness of the centers in fulfilling the purposes of the centers.
“(c) Implementation.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall designate at least one center under section 7320 of title 38, United States Code, not later than January 1, 1998.”

 

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