Reported to House amended, Part I (05/24/2016)
Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2016
(Sec. 3) This bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to select a VA medical center to serve as the national center for research on the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions of the biological children or grandchildren of individuals exposed to toxic substances while serving as members of the Armed Forces that are related to such exposure.
The bill requires: (1) the Department of Defense (DOD) or the head of a federal agency to make available to the VA for review records held by DOD, an Armed Force, or that federal agency that might assist the VA in making determinations regarding individuals and descendents afflicted with an exposure-related health condition; (2) the VA and DOD or such agency head to jointly establish a mechanism for VA review of records; and (3) the national center to employ at least one licensed clinical social worker to coordinate access of individuals to appropriate social and health care programs and to handle case management.
(Sec. 4) The VA shall establish an Advisory Board to oversee and assess the national center and to advise the VA regarding the center’s work.
The board shall report on its recommendations at least once a year.
(Sec. 5) DOD shall: (1) conduct a declassification review to determine what information may be made publicly available related to any known incident in which at least 100 members of the Armed Forces were exposed to a toxic substance that resulted in at least one case of a disability that an occupational medicine specialist has determined to be credibly associated with such substance; and (2) make such information available consistent with national security and limited to information necessary for determining whether an individual was exposed to such substance, the severity of exposure, and any potential health conditions resulting from such exposure.
(Sec. 6) The VA shall conduct a national outreach and education campaign directed toward members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their family members to communicate information on: (1) incidents of exposure of members of the Armed Forces to toxic substances, health conditions resulting from such exposure, and potential long-term effects; and (2) the national center for individuals eligible to participate in national center studies.DOD and the Department of Health and Human Services shall assist the VA in implementing such campaign.
(Sec. 7) No additional funds are authorized to carry out this bill.