Monday, April 26, 2010

House of Representatives passes Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009

From DOTmed News:

The House of Representatives has passed S. 1963, the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009. The vote was 419 to 0 in favor of the bill which now moves to the Senate.

The bill provides several measures to assist disabled veterans and families who care for them. These measures include an increase in compensation for improvement and structural alterations as part of home health services, and creating a program of comprehensive assistance for family caregivers of eligible veterans. Women veterans health services would be enhanced through development of a thorough study of barriers to the provision of comprehensive health care women vets encounter. There would also be a program established to provide graduate medical education, training, certification, and continuing medical education for mental health professionals who provide counseling services for female veterans suffering from sexual trauma and post traumatic stress disorder. The bill would also allow for demonstration projects for mental health services and access to care in rural areas.

Another important measure of the bill assists veterans who are catastrophically disabled through a prohibition on collection of co-payments from those veterans. Other provisions include creating a committee regarding care of veterans with traumatic brain injury; a study on suicide among veterans; and educational loan assistance for health professionals with disadvantaged backgrounds engaged in clinical research for the Veterans Health Administration.

Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) stated regarding the bill: "In my office there is no higher priority than helping veterans and military families receive the compensation, benefits, and other services they have earned...The VA is facing an increased and unprecedented demand for medical services today as aging World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans require more medical care and thousands of veterans are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious physical and mental health needs."