Veteran Affairs

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VFW-Supported Vet Center Expansion Act Becomes Law
Last week, the VFW-supported H.R. 1812, the Vet Center Eligibility Expansion Act, was signed into law. This law expands Vet Center counseling and related mental health services for veterans and service members of the National Guard Reserve, or Coast Guard, who took part in drug interdictions or responded to national Disasters or emergencies. Participating in these high-stress situations can have serious mental health consequences. Expanding access to vet Centers will provide an opportunity for those who served in these situations to have access to the mental health services they earned and deserved.

 

Suicide Prevention And Mental Health Bill Becomes Law
Last week H.R. 2372, the Veterans Care Quality Transparency Act, was signed into law. The law requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to assess suicide prevention and mental health services of Non-VA entities who have entered into a Memorandum or Understanding with VA. The GAO assessment will include the size of the catchment area, staffing structure, staff accreditations or licensures, program limitations, trackable outcomes, breakdown of specific demographics, such as women veterans, minority veterans and age and location of veterans.

Legislative Update On Agent Orange Conditions
On July 23, the Senate passed S. 4049, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA). The Senate NDAA contains a provision to add bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinsonism to the list of Presumptive conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange. The House-passed version of the DNAA, H.R. 6395, does not contain this provision. The difference between the House and Senate versions of the NDAA will be reconciled by conference committee comprised of members of both chambers, expected to be formed sometime next month. The VFW is fully committed to ensuring that the final NDAA adds these conditions to the Agent Orange presumptive list. Stay tuned to the VFW Action Corps Weekly for updates and any possible VFW call-to-action on this important legislation.

Complete The Airborne Hazards And Open Burn Pit Registry
All veterans who served in eligible locations should include their information in the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pits Registry. Participation in the registry is very important as it will allow VA to track burn pit exposure and draw inferences regarding associated adverse health effects. Exposure to burn pits may be associated with respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Recently, the VA stated that veterans with underlying respiratory conditions may be at greater risk for developing complications related to COVID-19. Service members and veterans who have already signed up for the registry should make sure their contact information, phone number, address and email are up-to-date.

VA #FightFlu Initiative
The VA has expanded the options eligible veterans have on where they can receive a seasonal no-cost flu shot. Veterans can now receive a standard-dose or high-dose flu shot at their local VA Health Care facility, in-network community retail pharmacy or an urgent care location. If you are eligible, you only need to present a valid, government-issued ID at a covered location.

Now Hear This
This past Oct. 23 was the 100th birthday of our VFW Post 516, but due to the pandemic we have put out party celebration off until it is safe. We will keep you posted as to when our party will be held.

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