38 CFR § 17.44 - Hospital care for certain retirees with chronic disability (Executive Orders 10122, 10400 and 11733).
Hospital care may be furnished when beds are available to members or former members of the uniformed services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Coast and Geodetic Survey, now National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hereinafter referred to as NOAA, and Public Health Service) temporarily or permanently retired for physical disability or receiving disability retirement pay who require hospital care for chronic diseases and who have no eligibility for hospital care under laws governing the Department of Veterans Affairs, or who having eligibility do not elect hospitalization as Department of Veterans Affairs beneficiaries. Care under this section is subject to the following conditions:
(a) Persons defined in this section who are members or former members of the active military, naval, or air service must agree to pay the subsistence rate set by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, except that no subsistence charge will be made for those persons who are members or former members of the Public Health Service, Coast Guard, Coast and Geodetic Survey now NOAA, and enlisted personnel of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
(b) Under this section, the term chronic diseases shall include chronic arthritis, malignancy, psychiatric disorders, poliomyelitis with residuals, neurological disabilities, diseases of the nervous system, severe injuries to the nervous system, including quadriplegia, hemiplegia and paraplegia, tuberculosis, blindness and deafness requiring definitive rehabilitation, disability from major amputation, and other diseases as may be agreed upon from time to time by the Under Secretary for Health and designated officials of the Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services. For the purpose of this section, blindness is defined as corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye, or corrected central visual acuity of more than 20/200 if there is a field defect in which the peripheral field has contracted to such an extent that its widest diameter subtends the widest diameter of the field of the better eye at an angle no greater than 20°.
(c) In the case of persons who are former members of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, care may be furnished under this section even though their retirement for disability was from the Environmental Science Services Administration or NOAA.