U.S. Senator Mark Udall released the following statement today after President Obama signed S. 1963, the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, which authorizes $800 million for the new VA Medical Center at the Anschutz medical campus in Aurora among its many provisions.
"The men and women who have fought for this country deserve the best health care we can provide, and after years of pushing for a new veterans' hospital in Aurora it is finally coming true," Senator Udall said. "I have fought alongside the veterans' community for many years to get the VA to honor its promise to replace the hospital."
In March 2009, Secretary of the VA Eric Shinseki announced plans to move forward with a stand-alone, full-service VA hospital with comprehensive specialty care services, including a 30-bed Spinal cord Injury Center. The new medical center will provide a full range of medical, laboratory, research and counseling services including a new spinal cord injury unit. In August 2009, the VA officially broke ground on the new facility. This year, Senator Udall has urged the Senate Appropriations Committee to support full funding for the hospital in Fiscal Year 2011 to continue the progress already made.
Among its other provisions, S. 1963 provides training and ongoing assistance to family caregivers, as well as financial assistance for the family member who takes on the role of caring for one of our nation's veterans and making the family caregiver an authorized home health aide for severely injured veterans. In addition, the bill offers improved treatment and rehabilitation for those suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and increases support of mental health services for our veterans, especially for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and TBI. The bill also provides for the unique health-care challenges facing our female veterans, and improves personnel policies to enhance the delivery of health-care services.
"I want to highlight the fact that this bipartisan legislation will not only give veterans a new VA medical center better equipped to help them heal and rehabilitate, but it will also invest resources in a fundamental-yet often overlooked-area: taking care of the people who take care of our veterans. Our veterans have sacrificed much to protect our nation, but for too long, the people who take care of them in turn have not received much support. I want to ensure that we fully show our appreciation for everything veterans and their caregivers do for our nation."