Improving Health Care for Veterans
May 06, 2010
04:54 PM EDT
Yesterday, President Obama signed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 into law. The law includes provisions that help provide support for the caregivers of seriously injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, helps improve services for our nation’s 1.8 million women veterans, and helps expand the availability of health care for veterans and services preventing veterans from becoming homeless. These measures and others honor the sacrifices of our men and women who have served this country proudly, the commitment and dedication of the those who care for our wounded service members every day, and our Nation's sacred responsibility to stand by our troops, our veterans, and their families.
Here’s a quick look at what the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 does:
- Provides veterans’ caregivers with training, counseling, supportive services, and a living stipend; provides health care to the family caregivers of injured veterans under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA); requires independent oversight of the caregiver program;
- Requires VA to report to Congress on its comprehensive assessment of the barriers in providing health care to the 1.8 million women veterans’ currently receiving VA health care and it requires VA to train its mental health providers in the treatment of military sexual trauma. It also mandates that VA implement pilot programs to provide child care to women veterans receiving medical care and provide readjustment services to women veterans;
- Expands VA’s authority to provide incentives so that VA can recruit and retain high-quality health care providers; provides travel reimbursements for veterans receiving treatment at VA facilities and grants for veterans service organizations transporting veterans residing in highly rural areas;
- Authorizes the Secretary to utilize non-VA facilities for the care and treatment of veterans suffering from TBI when the Secretary: (1) is unable to provide such treatment or services at the frequency or for the duration necessary; or (2) determines that it is optimal to the veteran's recovery and rehabilitation;
- Establishes and increases eligibility for Iraq and Afghanistan service members, including National Guard and Reserve members, to receive readjustment counseling; requires VA to conduct a study on veteran suicides;
- Emphasizes VA's commitment to provide medical care for certain Vietnam-era veterans exposed to herbicide and Gulf-War era veterans who have insufficient medical evidence to establish a service-connected disability; and
- Eliminates copayments for veterans who are catastrophically disabled.
To read the President’s remarks from the bill signing, please click here.
General James Jones is National Security Advisor