Home
gpo.gov
govinfo.gov

e-CFR Navigation Aids

Browse

Simple Search

Advanced Search

 — Boolean

 — Proximity

 

Search History

Search Tips

Corrections

Latest Updates

User Info

FAQs

Agency List

Incorporation By Reference

eCFR logo

Related Resources

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

We invite you to try out our new beta eCFR site at https://ecfr.federalregister.gov. We have made big changes to make the eCFR easier to use. Be sure to leave feedback using the Feedback button on the bottom right of each page!

e-CFR data is current as of March 4, 2021

Title 38Chapter IPart 17 → Subject Group


Title 38: Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief
PART 17—MEDICAL


Payment or Reimbursement for Emergency Services for Nonservice-Connected Conditions in Non-VA Facilities

Source: 66 FR 36470, July 12, 2001, unless otherwise noted.

§17.1000   Payment or reimbursement for emergency services for nonservice-connected conditions in non-VA facilities.

Sections 17.1000 through 17.1008 constitute the requirements under 38 U.S.C. 1725 that govern VA payment or reimbursement for non-VA emergency services furnished to a veteran for nonservice-connected conditions.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1725)

Note to §17.1000: In cases where a patient is admitted for inpatient care, health care providers furnishing emergency treatment who believe they may have a basis for filing a claim with VA for payment under 38 U.S.C. 1725 should contact VA within 48-hours after admission for emergency treatment. Such contact is not a condition of VA payment. However, the contact will assist the provider in understanding the conditions for payment. The contact may also assist the provider in planning for transfer of the veteran after stabilization.

[66 FR 36470, July 12, 2001, as amended at 68 FR 3404, Jan. 24, 2003]

§17.1001   Definitions.

For purposes of §§17.1000 through 17.1008:

(a) The term health-plan contract means any of the following:

(1) An insurance policy or contract, medical or hospital service agreement, membership or subscription contract, or similar arrangement under which health services for individuals are provided or the expenses of such services are paid;

(2) An insurance program described in section 1811 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395c) or established by section 1831 of that Act (42 U.S.C. 1395j);

(3) A State plan for medical assistance approved under title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.);

(4) A workers' compensation law or plan described in section 38 U.S.C. 1729(a)(2)(A); or

(b) The term third party means any of the following:

(1) A Federal entity;

(2) A State or political subdivision of a State;

(3) An employer or an employer's insurance carrier;

(4) An automobile accident reparations insurance carrier; or

(5) A person or entity obligated to provide, or to pay the expenses of, health services under a health-plan contract.

(c) The term duplicate payment means payment made, in whole or in part, for the same emergency services for which VA reimbursed or made payment.

(d) The term stabilized means that no material deterioration of the emergency medical condition is likely, within reasonable medical probability, to occur if the veteran is discharged or transferred to a VA or other Federal facility that VA has an agreement with to furnish health care services for veterans.

(e) The term VA medical facility of jurisdiction means the nearest VA medical facility to where the emergency service was provided.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1725)

[66 FR 36470, July 12, 2001, as amended at 76 FR 79071, Dec. 21, 2011; 77 FR 23617, Apr. 20, 2012]

§17.1002   Substantive conditions for payment or reimbursement.

Payment or reimbursement under 38 U.S.C. 1725 for emergency treatment (including medical services, professional services, ambulance services, ancillary care and medication (including a short course of medication related to and necessary for the treatment of the emergency condition that is provided directly to or prescribed for the patient for use after the emergency condition is stabilized and the patient is discharged)) will be made only if all of the following conditions are met:

(a) The emergency services were provided in a hospital emergency department or a similar facility held out as providing emergency care to the public;

(b) The claim for payment or reimbursement for the initial evaluation and treatment is for a condition of such a nature that a prudent layperson would have reasonably expected that delay in seeking immediate medical attention would have been hazardous to life or health (this standard would be met if there were an emergency medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) that a prudent layperson who possesses an average knowledge of health and medicine could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in placing the health of the individual in serious jeopardy, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part);

(c) A VA or other Federal facility/provider that VA has an agreement with to furnish health care services for veterans was not feasibly available and an attempt to use them beforehand would not have been considered reasonable by a prudent layperson (as an example, these conditions would be met by evidence establishing that a veteran was brought to a hospital in an ambulance and the ambulance personnel determined the nearest available appropriate level of care was at a non-VA medical center);

(d) At the time the emergency treatment was furnished, the veteran was enrolled in the VA health care system and had received medical services under authority of 38 U.S.C. chapter 17 within the 24-month period preceding the furnishing of such emergency treatment;

(e) The veteran is financially liable to the provider of emergency treatment for that treatment;

(f) The veteran does not have coverage under a health-plan contract that would fully extinguish the medical liability for the emergency treatment (this condition cannot be met if the veteran has coverage under a health-plan contract but payment is barred because of a failure by the veteran or the provider to comply with the provisions of that health-plan contract, e.g., failure to submit a bill or medical records within specified time limits, or failure to exhaust appeals of the denial of payment);

(g) If the condition for which the emergency treatment was furnished was caused by an accident or work-related injury, the claimant has exhausted without success all claims and remedies reasonably available to the veteran or provider against a third party for payment of such treatment; and the veteran has no contractual or legal recourse against a third party that could reasonably be pursued for the purpose of extinguishing, in whole, the veteran's liability to the provider; and

(h) The veteran is not eligible for reimbursement under 38 U.S.C. 1728 for the emergency treatment provided (38 U.S.C. 1728 authorizes VA payment or reimbursement for emergency treatment to a limited group of veterans, primarily those who receive emergency treatment for a service-connected disability).

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1725)

[66 FR 36470, July 12, 2001, as amended at 68 FR 3404, Jan. 24, 2003; 76 FR 79071, Dec. 21, 2011; 77 FR 23617, Apr. 20, 2012; 80 FR 79484, Dec. 22, 2015; 83 FR 979, Jan. 9, 2018]

§17.1003   Emergency transportation.

Notwithstanding the provisions of §17.1002, payment or reimbursement under 38 U.S.C. 1725 for ambulance services, including air ambulance services, may be made for transporting a veteran to a facility only if the following conditions are met:

(a) Payment or reimbursement is authorized under 38 U.S.C. 1725 for emergency treatment provided at a non-VA facility, or payment or reimbursement would have been authorized under 38 U.S.C. 1725 for emergency treatment had:

(1) The veteran's personal liability for the emergency treatment not been fully extinguished by payment by a third party, including under a health-plan contract; or

(2) Death had not occurred before emergency treatment could be provided;

(b) The veteran is financially liable to the provider of the emergency transportation;

(c) The veteran does not have coverage under a health-plan contract that would fully extinguish the medical liability for the emergency transportation (this condition is not met if the veteran has coverage under a health-plan contract but payment is barred because of a failure by the veteran or the provider to comply with the provisions of that health-plan contract);

(d) If the condition for which the emergency transportation was furnished was caused by an accident or work-related injury, the claimant has exhausted without success all claims and remedies reasonably available to the veteran or provider against a third party for payment of such transportation; and the veteran has no contractual or legal recourse against a third party that could reasonably be pursued for the purpose of fully extinguishing the veteran's liability to the provider; and

(e) If the veteran is not eligible for reimbursement for any emergency treatment expenses under 38 U.S.C. 1728.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1725)

[66 FR 36470, July 12, 2001, as amended at 83 FR 979, Jan. 9, 2018]

§17.1004   Filing claims.

(a) A claimant for payment or reimbursement under 38 U.S.C. 1725 must be the entity that furnished the treatment, the veteran who paid for the treatment, or the person or organization that paid for such treatment on behalf of the veteran.

(b) To obtain payment or reimbursement for emergency treatment under 38 U.S.C. 1725, a claimant must submit to the VA medical facility of jurisdiction a completed standard billing form (such as a UB92 or a CMS 1500). Where the form used does not contain a false claims notice, the completed form must also be accompanied by a signed, written statement declaring that “I hereby certify that this claim meets all of the conditions for payment by VA for emergency medical services under 38 CFR 17.1002 (except for paragraph (e)) and 17.1003. I am aware that 38 U.S.C. 6102(b) provides that one who obtains payment without being entitled to it and with intent to defraud the United States shall be fined in accordance with title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”

Note to §17.1004(b): These regulations regarding payment or reimbursement for emergency services for nonservice-connected conditions in non-VA facilities also can be found on the internet at http://www.va.gov/health/elig.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section, no specific form is required for a claimant (or duly authorized representative) to claim payment or reimbursement for emergency transportation charges under 38 U.S.C. 1725. The claimant need only submit a signed and dated request for such payment or reimbursement to the VA medical facility of jurisdiction, together with a bill showing the services provided and charges for which the veteran is personally liable and a signed statement explaining who requested such transportation services and why they were necessary.

(d) To receive payment or reimbursement for emergency services, a claimant must file a claim within 90 days after the latest of the following:

(1) The date that the veteran was discharged from the facility that furnished the emergency treatment;

(2) The date of death, but only if the death occurred during transportation to a facility for emergency treatment or if the death occurred during the stay in the facility that included the provision of the emergency treatment; or

(3) The date the veteran finally exhausted, without success, action to obtain payment or reimbursement for the treatment from a third party.

(e) If after reviewing a claim the decisionmaker determines that additional information is needed to make a determination regarding the claim, such official will contact the claimant in writing and request additional information. The additional information must be submitted to the decisionmaker within 30 days of receipt of the request or the claim will be treated as abandoned, except that if the claimant within the 30-day period requests in writing additional time, the time period for submission of the information may be extended as reasonably necessary for the requested information to be obtained.

(f) Notwithstanding paragraph (d) of this section, VA will provide retroactive payment or reimbursement for emergency treatment received by the veteran on or after July 19, 2001, but more than 90 days before May 21, 2012, if the claimant files a claim for reimbursement no later than 1 year after May 21, 2012.

(The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirements in this section under control number 2900-0620.)

[66 FR 36470, July 12, 2001, as amended at 68 FR 3404, Jan. 24, 2003; 77 FR 23617, Apr. 20, 2012; 84 FR 26307, June 5, 2019]

§17.1005   Payment limitations.

(a) Payment or reimbursement for emergency treatment (including emergency transportation) under 38 U.S.C. 1725 will be calculated as follows:

(1) If an eligible veteran has personal liability to a provider of emergency treatment and no contractual or legal recourse against a third party, including under a health-plan contract, VA will pay the lesser of the amount for which the veteran is personally liable or 70 percent of the applicable Medicare fee schedule amount for such treatment.

(2) If an eligible veteran has personal liability to a provider of emergency treatment after payment by a third party, including under a health-plan contract, VA will pay:

(i) The difference between the amount VA would have paid under paragraph (a)(1) of this section for the cost of the emergency treatment and the amount paid (or payable) by the third party, if that amount would be greater than zero, or;

(ii) If applying paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section would result in no payment by VA, the lesser of the veteran's remaining personal liability after such third-party payment or 70 percent of the applicable Medicare fee schedule amount for such treatment.

(3) In the absence of a Medicare fee schedule rate for the emergency treatment, VA payment will be the lesser of the amount for which the veteran is personally liable or the amount calculated by the VA Fee Schedule in §17.56 (a)(2)(i)(B).

(4) Unless rejected and refunded by the provider within 30 days from the date of receipt, the provider will consider VA's payment made under paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), or (a)(3) of this section as payment in full and extinguish the veteran's liability to the provider. (Neither the absence of a contract or agreement between the Secretary and the provider nor any provision of a contract, agreement, or assignment to the contrary shall operate to modify, limit, or negate the requirement in the preceding sentence.)

(5) VA will not reimburse a veteran under this section for any copayment, deductible, coinsurance, or similar payment that the veteran owes the third party or is obligated to pay under a health-plan contract.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, VA will not approve claims for payment or reimbursement of the costs of emergency treatment not previously authorized for any period beyond the date on which the medical emergency ended. For this purpose, VA considers that an emergency ends when the designated VA clinician at the VA facility has determined that, based on sound medical judgment, a veteran who received emergency treatment:

(1) Could have been transferred from the non-VA facility to a VA medical center (or other Federal facility that VA has an agreement with to furnish health care services for veterans) for continuation of treatment, or

(2) Could have reported to a VA medical center (or other Federal facility that VA has an agreement with to furnish health care services for veterans) for continuation of treatment.

(c) Claims for payment or reimbursement of the costs of emergency treatment not previously authorized may be approved for continued, non-emergency treatment, only if:

(1) The non-VA facility notified VA at the time the veteran could be safely transferred to a VA facility (or other Federal facility that VA has an agreement with to furnish health care services for veterans) and the transfer of the veteran was not accepted, and

(2) The non-VA facility made and documented reasonable attempts to request transfer of the veteran to VA (or to another Federal facility that VA has an agreement with to furnish health care services for veterans), which means the non-VA facility contacted either the VA Transfer Coordinator, Administrative Officer of the Day, or designated staff responsible for accepting transfer of patients at a local VA (or other Federal facility) and documented such contact in the veteran's progress/physicians' notes, discharge summary, or other applicable medical record.

(d) If a stabilized veteran who requires continued non-emergency treatment refuses to be transferred to an available VA facility (or other Federal facility that VA has an agreement with to furnish health care services for veterans), VA will make payment or reimbursement only for the expenses related to the initial evaluation and the emergency treatment furnished to the veteran up to the point of refusal of transfer by the veteran.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1725)

[66 FR 36470, July 12, 2001, as amended at 68 FR 3404, Jan. 24, 2003; 76 FR 79071, Dec. 21, 2011; 77 FR 23618, Apr. 20, 2012; 78 FR 36093, June 17, 2013; 83 FR 979, Jan. 9, 2018]

§17.1006   Decisionmakers.

The Chief of the Health Administration Service or an equivalent official at the VA medical facility of jurisdiction will make all determinations regarding payment or reimbursement under 38 U.S.C. 1725, except that the designated VA clinician at the VA medical facility of jurisdiction will make determinations regarding §17.1002(b), (c), and (d). Any decision denying a benefit must be in writing and inform the claimant of VA reconsideration and appeal rights.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1725)

[66 FR 36470, July 12, 2001, as amended at 76 FR 79072, Dec. 21, 2011]

§17.1007   Independent right of recovery.

(a) VA has the right to recover its payment under this section when, and to the extent that, a third party makes payment for all or part of the same emergency treatment for which VA reimbursed or made payment under this section.

(1) Under 38 U.S.C. 1725(d)(4), the veteran (or the veteran's personal representative, successor, dependents, or survivors) or claimant shall ensure that the Secretary is promptly notified of any payment received from any third party for emergency treatment furnished to the veteran. The veteran (or the veteran's personal representative, successor, dependents, or survivors) or claimant shall immediately forward all documents relating to such payment, cooperate with the Secretary in the investigation of such payment and assist the Secretary in enforcing the United States' right to recover any payment made and accepted under this section. The required notification and submission of documentation must be provided by the veteran or claimant to the VA medical facility of jurisdiction within three working days of receipt of notice of the duplicate payment.

(2) If the Chief Financial Officer or equivalent official at the VA medical facility of jurisdiction concludes that payment from a third party was made for all or part of the same emergency treatment for which VA reimbursed or made payment under this section, such VA official shall, except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, initiate action to collect or recover the amount of the duplicate payment in the same manner as for any other debt owed the United States.

(b)(1) Any amount paid by the United States to the veteran (or the veteran's personal representative, successor, dependents, or survivors) or to any other person or organization paying for such treatment shall constitute a lien in favor of the United States against any recovery the payee subsequently receives from a third party for the same treatment.

(2) Any amount paid by the United States, and accepted by the provider that furnished the veteran's emergency treatment, shall constitute a lien against any subsequent amount the provider receives from a third party for the same emergency treatment for which the United States made payment.

(c) If it is determined that a duplicate payment was made, the Chief Financial Officer or equivalent official at the VA medical facility of jurisdiction may waive recovery of a VA payment made under this section to a veteran upon determining that the veteran has substantially complied with the provisions of paragraph (a)(1) of this section and that actions to recover the payment would not be cost-effective or would conflict with other litigative interests of the United States.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1725)

§17.1008   Balance billing prohibited.

Payment by VA under 38 U.S.C. 1725 on behalf of a veteran to a provider of emergency treatment and any non-emergency treatment that is authorized under §17.1005(c) of this part shall, unless rejected and refunded by the provider within 30 days of receipt, extinguish all liability on the part of the veteran for that emergency treatment and any non-emergency treatment that is authorized under §17.1005(c) of this part. Neither the absence of a contract or agreement between VA and the provider nor any provision of a contract, agreement, or assignment to the contrary shall operate to modify, limit, or negate this requirement.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1725)

[66 FR 36470, July 12, 2001, as amended at 76 FR 79072, Dec. 21, 2011]

Need assistance?