In This Issue
1. House VA Committee Reviews Health Bills
2. Senate Holds Hearing on Current VA Outcomes on PTSD
3. SECDEF Fires Air Force Leaders
4. TRICARE Bill for Reserve Retirees Introduced
5. Korean War MIA Identified
1. House VA Committee Reviews Health Bills: This week, VFW provided testimony to the House Veterans Affairs' Subcommittee on Health. The Committee reviewed five health-related bills designed to improve and enhance health care options for veterans using VA. VFW supported the following bills:
HR 4463 "The Veterans Health Care Quality Improvement Act," would enforce and ensure higher uniformed professional standards as well as addressing recruitment and retention among health care professionals within VA.
HR 5888, a bill that would allow veterans to be reimbursed for emergency medical treatment provided them outside VA facilities.
HR 6114, legislation that would simplify and update National standards for HIV testing within VA.
HR 6122, "The Veterans Pain Care Act of 2009" would direct VA to implement comprehensive policies on pain management for veterans seeking care in VHA.
To read our testimony or for more on the hearing visit the House VA website at: http://veterans.house.gov/
2. Senate Holds Hearing on Current VA outcomes for PTSD: The Senate Veterans Affairs' Committee held a hearing to discuss VA's response to veterans seeking help for mental health issues related to their service. Members of the Committee are concerned that VA has not remained focused on balances between care and compensation with regard to mental healthcare. Chairman Daniel Akaka (D-HI) asked the panel members ( all VA witnesses) how VA is ensuring that best practices for dealing with PTSD, both in VHA and VBA, are in place throughout the system.
Others wanted to make sure that the issues or problems regarding PTSD or other psychological problems related to service, receive accurate diagnoses from VA, proper care, and appropriate benefits.
For more on the hearing visit the Senate VA website at: http://veterans.senate.gov/public/
3. SECDEF Fires Air Force Leaders: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, after conferring with President Bush and support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, asked for the resignations yesterday of Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne and Chief of Staff T. Michael "Buz" Moseley. This action was taken following an investigation revealing a decline in the Air Force's nuclear program focus, performance and effective leadership. The investigation was triggered by Gates following the shipment of four MK-12 forward-section reentry vehicle assemblies to Taiwan and the bomber-specific August 2007 Minot-Barksdale nuclear weapons transfer incident. In response to a question, Secretary Gates said, "...the stewardship of our nuclear deterrent is the most sensitive mission that we have. And therefore, I think, the problems that have been identified - despite the fact there was no compromise of the technology, despite the fact that there was no danger involved - the fact that the stewardship itself and the declining standards raised questions in the minds of the public as well as internationally, in my view, required strong action."
4. TRICARE Bill for Reserve Retirees Introduced: The VFW attended a press conference yesterday and offered its strong support for the "TRICARE Continuity of Coverage for National Guard and Reserve Families Act of 2008." The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH). This legislation would provide TRICARE Standard coverage for "Gray Area" retired Reserve members and their families. These are retired members who are qualified for a non-regular retirement but who have not yet reached 60 years of age. The full cost of premiums would be the responsibility of the beneficiary. A bill number should be assigned within the next few days.
5. Korean War MIA Identified: The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. He is PFC Milton Dinerboiler Jr., U.S. Army, of Elkhart, IN. In late November 1950, Dinerboiler was assigned to the Heavy Mortar Company, 32nd Infantry Regiment, and then attached to the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), 7th Infantry Division. The team was engaged in battle against the Chinese People's Volunteer Forces near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, from late November to early December 1950. Dinerboiler was captured by the Chinese and marched on a route north of the Chosin Reservoir. He died in mid-to-late April 1951 from poor health and the lack of medical treatment. He was buried beside a hill along the route. In 2002, a joint U.S./Democratic People's Republic of Korea team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), recovered human remains from an isolated grave north of the Chosin Reservoir. The site correlates to a route that American POWs were taken while being moved north to a POW camp.