Sen. Moran Successful in Securing Toxic Exposure Research Study and Extending Veteran Access to Care
Apr 15 2016
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Senate Appropriations Defense Committee, and Co-Chair of both the Senate Defense Communities Caucus and Senate Aerospace Caucus – took action during this week’s mark-up of the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. The bill, which passed unanimously, will fund the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for FY17, and prioritizes funds for various projects and programs carried out by the VA. The full committee supported Sen. Moran’s call for the VA to commit to studying toxic exposure and related health conditions affecting veterans and potentially their children and grandchildren.
“I’m pleased the committee approved critical bill and report language taking important steps to push the VA to resolve systemic problems and toward doing what is in the best interest of veterans, including addressing the impact of toxic exposure on our military members and their families,” Sen. Moran said. “Additionally, the full committee agreed to a two-year extension for Project ARCH to make certain veterans within the program have continuity in their health care.”
The committee unanimously approved Sen. Moran’s amendment to prohibit use of funds for the VA’s Appraised Value Offer (AVO) Program, which assists in relocations of Senior Executive Service (SES) employees and has been abused by several VA employees for personal gain. This language mirrors a prohibition included in the FY16 appropriations bill.
Numerous Sen. Moran priorities in the FY2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill and accompanying report include:• National Academy of Medicine Study on Toxic Exposure
Requires the VA to enter into a contract with the National Academy of Medicine to conduct a study and assessment on the current research available regarding the health conditions related to exposure to toxic substances, and to provide recommendations for further research opportunities relating to toxic exposures and potential health conditions that result from those exposures.
• Access Received Closer to Home
A two-year extension for Project ARCH until the VA can consolidate their community care programs into one program.
• Veteran Farming
Urges the VA to coordinate with USDA and the Department of Defense to promote and provide educational or vocational training in agriculture related fields, behavioral health services on site through licensed providers and a pathway to employment in agriculture related fields.
• Choice Program
Directs the VA to survey community healthcare providers in rural areas to assess the struggles the face in using the program.
• Copayments for Opioid Antagonists and Education on the Use of Opioid Antagonists: Eliminates copayments for opioid healthcare resources and increase education on opioid use and rescue kit use.
• Rural Veterans Health
Directs the VA to explain how the agency will improve recruitment and retention of healthcare practitioners in rural areas, especially in those who specialize in mental health access.
• Encouraging Public-Private Partnerships
Encourages the VA to utilize public-private partnerships to fill gaps and solve problems, which are valuable to communities, save taxpayer money and create efficiencies that are otherwise caught in bureaucratic red tape.
• Burn Pits
Encourages the VA to continue further research and medical trials into the treatment of health conditions resulting from burn pit exposure.
• Curing Hepatitis C Within the Veteran Population
Directs the VA to continue providing treatment for Hepatitis C aggressively with the objective of treating and curing as many veterans as possible, as soon as possible. The VA requested billions for Hepatitis C medication for veterans and then rationed the medication to veterans in need.
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