Yesterday, Congressman Bill Owens voted to ensure that veterans and their families get the care and support they deserve. The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act will reform and improve veterans' health services by supporting wounded warriors and their families, expanding health care for female veterans, improving mental health services, and increasing access to health care for veterans in rural areas. The legislation passed unanimously 417 -- 0.
"Upstate New York is home to thousands of veterans, and it is integral to the continued success of our armed forces that America makes good on the promise to be there for our troops with quality health care, education, and employment," said Owens. "Whether we are talking about our soldiers at Fort Drum or our veterans living around the community, our men and women in uniform have a unique set of challenges and needs. To continue our work to repay our troops, we must be sure to improve the way we provide access to health care to soldiers and vets that live in rural areas."
To address the unique needs of the growing number of returning women soldiers, this bill will improve health services for almost 2 million female veterans. With this legislation, the VA will be able to provide care for female veterans' newborns for the first time in history. It will also improve access to care for veterans in rural areas, ensure that the VA can better treat veterans suffering from mental health issues, and provide the VA with resources to learn more about the tragically high suicide rate among veterans. This legislation will also support family members and caregivers who look after our injured veterans to bring them the relief they deserve.
The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act is supported by a broad coalition of veterans groups including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, AMVETS, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Wounded Warriors Project and the National Military Family Association.