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Legislation Will Strengthen Health Services For Veterans

Press Release

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Today Congresswoman Chellie Pingree voted for the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act to improve the health services received by veterans and their families. The House passed the important legislation.

"When VA Secretary Shinseki visited Maine this month, I urged him to keep moving forward on efforts to take better care for our veterans," said Pingree. "This legislation will help Maine veterans in our rural towns get better access to care and will ensure that our women serving in uniform get the medical benefits they need."

On April 9, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki met with Congresswoman Pingree and Congressman Mike Michaud on a tour of VA Togus Medical Center in Augusta.

The legislation passed today supports wounded veterans and their families, expands care for female veterans, improves mental health services, and increases access to health care for veterans 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--providing 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 bill builds on a number of recently passed pieces of legislation to improve veterans services, including expanding economic opportunities and job security for returning soldiers, addressing veteran homelessness, protecting returning veterans from foreclosure, and making it easier for those with PTSD to get disability benefits.

"Our soldiers are making incredible sacrifices in service to their country and for too long we have not given them the support they need and deserve," said Pingree. "We're making up for that step by step, but we're not there yet. We need to keep working for our veterans and their families."

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