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Posted at 12:24 PM on Monday, July 20, 2009 by post1771
In This Issue:
1. House VA Committee Hearings
2. Women Veteran Hearings
3. Military Voting Rights Bill
4. DOD Identifies Captured Soldier
1. House VA Committee Hearings:
Tuesday: The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on VA and DOD's implementation of a joint electronic medical record. Mandated by the FY 2008 Defense bill, Secretaries' Shinseki and Gates have made the interoperable record a priority. The deadline for the creation of a joint lifetime electronic record that will contain information from the day a servicemember enters the military to their transition into the VA system is Sept. 30, 2009. Committee members all stated that it is time to make the transition easier for all those returning from battle, and to improve upon a system that ensures the best care, efficient benefits delivery, and seamless transition in to civilian life. Director Rear Adm. Gregory Timberlake and Deputy Director Cliff Freeman of the Interagency Program Office, both testified that it is their goal to enable DOD and VA to work together to deliver a comprehensive system that will modernize both agencies and bring them into 21st century.
Wednesday: The full committee moved several VFW-supported bills forward for House action.
- HR 3155 would authorize training, support and medical care to family caregivers of veterans. It would also create a stipend to cover housing and expenses incurred by primary caregivers to certain veterans.
- HR 1293 would increase the amount veterans receive for improvements and structural alterations for home health services.
- HR 2270 combines provisions from eight other bills, to include establishing a Director of Physician Assistant position within VA; eliminate the deduction in accelerated death payments to terminally-ill veterans and service members under SGLI and VGLI; allow certain veterans to increase the amount of life insurance they carry under VGLI; prohibit catastrophically-disabled veterans from having to pay copayments or other fees for critical medical services; and permanently authorize hospital care, medical services and nursing home care for Vietnam and Persian Gulf War veterans exposed to herbicides.
Thursday: VFW presented testimony before the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity on State Approving Agencies (SAAs) and their role in education programs administered by VA. SAAs were established by Congress in 1947 to ensure that veterans and eligible dependents use the GI Bill educational benefit in an approved educational environment. Their key function is to ensure that education and training programs meet VA standards. VFW believes that with the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, SAAs need more highly trained individuals working at the state and federal levels. We also testified that adequate resources provided by Congress and vigilant oversight are needed to decrease the potential for waste, fraud and abuse.
To read VFW testimony, go to: http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?
For more on the hearings, visit the committee website at http://veterans.house.gov/
Read more Washington Weekly
Read more Washington Weekly