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Establishing An Ambudsman Within The Department Of Veterans Affiars

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MORAN of Kansas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

As we all know, our Nation owes its very existence to the brave men and women who have served in our Armed Forces. The freedoms and liberties that we cherish today were attained and protected through their sacrifice. These patriotic citizens have earned and should be provided the highest quality health care available.

I want to thank the leaders of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Chairman Filner, Ranking Member Buyer, as well as Subcommittee on Health Chairman Michaud and Ranking Member Miller for their bipartisan efforts in developing the bill before us today. I also want to thank Mr. Hodes for introducing this legislation to establish an Office of Ombudsman within Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 2007, following the disclosure of problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the President established a Task Force on Returning Global War on Terror Heroes and a Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors. My predecessor in Congress, Senator Dole, co-chaired this commission.

The recommendations of this commission compelled the VA to initiative a variety of measures to better assist veteran patients and their families. Such initiatives included appointing patient counselor advocates at each VA medical center, providing coordinators for returning OEF and OIF veterans, providing transition patient advocates and establishing the Joint Federal Recovery Coordinator program to assist seriously wounded servicemembers.

H.R. 2192, as amended, would establish a centralized office to monitor the performance of these employees and provide veterans with a single point of contact for assistance with problems that cannot be resolved at the local level. The office would also track patient issues and complaints throughout the system and provide recommendations for improvements in policies, practices and procedures.

I support H.R. 2192, as amended, to ensure that our veterans receive the highest quality health care available, and I urge my colleagues to support it as well.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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