GRASSLEY WORKS TO IMPROVE TREATMENT FOR SERVICE MEMBERS AND VETERANS
Senator Chuck Grassley today said that he has cosponsored legislation that will improve treatment for veterans and service members who have incurred mental injuries, better prepare them for stress associated with combat and increase care for military families.
The "Honoring Our Nation's Obligation to Returning Warriors Act" was sponsored by Senators Kit Bond of Missouri and Barbara Boxer of California. Grassley is an original cosponsor of the legislation.
"Our military personnel and veterans deserve only the best treatment, and we need to make sure that they have access to the care they need to address less visable types of injuries," Grassley said. "This bill takes some necessary steps to better address the mental stresses that were seeing in our returning heroes."
Grassley recently won a commitment from the Office of Personnel Management to collect data and best practices from federal agencies about their various veteran outreach and veteran recruitment efforts. At Grassley's request, the Office of Personnel Management also will conduct an analysis to determine how agencies can improve their success in recruiting recent combat veterans, particularly those who have been disabled, and what a reasonable goal might be for all federal agencies to strive for.
Here are specifics provisions of the bill.
* Improves Access to Care by Expanding the Use of Veterans Centers - Provides Active, Guard, and Reserve U.S. Military personnel who have served in combat access to the VA's Veterans Centers for mental health care.
* Enhances Recruitment and Training of Military Behavioral Health Specialists - Creates a scholarship program to enhance the recruitment and training of behavioral health care specialists from the service member ranks.
* Extends Survivor Benefits - Extends survivor benefits for service members who commit suicide and have a history of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and/or Traumatic Brain Injury in their medical record.
* Cares for Families of Fallen Heroes - Creates a grant program for non-profit organizations to provide support services to the families of deceased Active, Guard, and Reserve U.S. Military personnel and veterans.
* Ensures Fair Treatment and Care for all U.S. Military Personnel - Ensures veterans who have honorably served in combat a fair discharge process and earned health care benefits by allowing the VA to screen the veteran's discharge, and, if found to have been improperly diagnosed, to take action to correct the problem accordingly.
* Prepares Troops for Combat - Creates a pilot program at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri and Ft. Carson, Colorado to provide comprehensive training to educate U.S. Military Personnel on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in order to build resiliency, enhance performance, and mitigate stress.