38 USC 1703 - Contracts for hospital care and medical services in non-Department facilities

(a) When Department facilities are not capable of furnishing economical hospital care or medical services because of geographical inaccessibility or are not capable of furnishing the care or services required, the Secretary, as authorized in section 1710 of this title, may contract with non-Department facilities in order to furnish any of the following:
(1) Hospital care or medical services to a veteran for the treatment of
(A) a service-connected disability;
(B) a disability for which a veteran was discharged or released from the active military, naval, or air service; or

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(C) a disability of a veteran who has a total disability permanent in nature from a service-connected disability.
(2) Medical services for the treatment of any disability of
(A) a veteran described in section 1710 (a)(1)(B) of this title;
(B) a veteran who
(i)  has been furnished hospital care, nursing home care, domiciliary care, or medical services, and
(ii)  requires medical services to complete treatment incident to such care or services; or
(C) a veteran described in section 1710 (a)(2)(E) of this title, or a veteran who is in receipt of increased pension, or additional compensation or allowances based on the need of regular aid and attendance or by reason of being permanently housebound (or who, but for the receipt of retired pay, would be in receipt of such pension, compensation, or allowance), if the Secretary has determined, based on an examination by a physician employed by the Department (or, in areas where no such physician is available, by a physician carrying out such function under a contract or fee arrangement), that the medical condition of such veteran precludes appropriate treatment in Department facilities.
(3) Hospital care or medical services for the treatment of medical emergencies which pose a serious threat to the life or health of a veteran receiving medical services in a Department facility or nursing home care under section 1720 of this title until such time following the furnishing of care in the non-Department facility as the veteran can be safely transferred to a Department facility.
(4) Hospital care for women veterans.
(5) Hospital care, or medical services that will obviate the need for hospital admission, for veterans in a State (other than the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico) not contiguous to the contiguous States, except that the annually determined hospital patient load and incidence of the furnishing of medical services to veterans hospitalized or treated at the expense of the Department in Government and non-Department facilities in each such noncontiguous State shall be consistent with the patient load or incidence of the furnishing of medical services for veterans hospitalized or treated by the Department within the 48 contiguous States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

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(6) Diagnostic services necessary for determination of eligibility for, or of the appropriate course of treatment in connection with, furnishing medical services at independent Department out-patient clinics to obviate the need for hospital admission.
(7) Outpatient dental services and treatment, and related dental appliances, for a veteran described in section 1712 (a)(1)(F) of this title.
(8) Diagnostic services (on an inpatient or outpatient basis) for observation or examination of a person to determine eligibility for a benefit or service under laws administered by the Secretary.
(b) In the case of any veteran for whom the Secretary contracts to furnish care or services in a non-Department facility pursuant to a provision of subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary shall periodically review the necessity for continuing such contractual arrangement pursuant to such provision.
(c) The Secretary shall include in the budget documents which the Secretary submits to Congress for any fiscal year a detailed report on the furnishing of contract care and services during the most recently completed fiscal year under this section, sections 1712A, 1720, 1720A, 1724, and 1732 of this title, and section 115 of the Veterans Benefits and Services Act of 1988 (Public Law 100322; 102 Stat. 501).
(1) The Secretary shall conduct a program of recovery audits for fee basis contracts and other medical services contracts for the care of veterans under this section, and for beneficiaries under sections 1781, 1782, and 1783 of this title, with respect to overpayments resulting from processing or billing errors or fraudulent charges in payments for non-Department care and services. The program shall be conducted by contract.
(2) Amounts collected, by setoff or otherwise, as the result of an audit under the program conducted under this subsection shall be available, without fiscal year limitation, for the purposes for which funds are currently available to the Secretary for medical care and for payment to a contractor of a percentage of the amount collected as a result of an audit carried out by the contractor.
(3) The Secretary shall allocate all amounts collected under this subsection with respect to a designated geographic service area of the Veterans Health Administration, net of payments to the contractor, to that region.
(4) The authority of the Secretary under this subsection terminates on September 30, 2008.