Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Rich Nugent (R-FL) to Introduce the Veterans and Armed Forces Health Promotion Act of 2013

Nov 8, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Rich Nugent (R-FL) honor Veteran’s Day this year with not just words, but action – Next week, they will introduce the Veterans and Armed Forces’ Health Promotion Act of 2013. This bipartisan legislation takes extraordinary steps to improve the quality of health care provided to wounded warriors by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD).

“One of my most greatest responsibilities as a Member of Congress is to ensure our veterans and active duty armed forces are getting the benefits and care they deserve,” said Congressman Ryan. “This legislation will go a long way towards dramatically improving the quality of care that our wounded warriors receive, and propel the VA and DoD towards innovative healthcare solutions for the complex challenges they face. I believe these complementary and alternative approaches can help preemptively address needs and ultimately create less expensive treatments for long term veteran healthcare.”

"Our military is an all-volunteer force and we owe it to them to ensure they get the very best medical care and support when they come home. One critical part of that is doing everything possible to address health challenges that are specific to veterans. There are steps that the VA and DOD can take to innovate and find better ways of delivering the care that Congressman Ryan and I are dedicated to making sure happens. This legislation will further that effort and I am very proud to be able to help move it forward," said Congressman Nugent.

The Veterans and Armed Forces’ Health Promotion Act expands the scope of holistic care education and research for signature wounds such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). It also establishes complementary and alternative medicine pilot programs for mental health and pain management treatment for veterans at ten different locations across the United States. Both pieces of legislation establish some common sense wellness programs to prevent health problems. 

The Veterans and Armed Forces’ Health Promotion Act creates a grant pilot program to upgrade Veteran Service Organization facilities, expanding the reach of wellness services directly into economically strained communities. The bill also reduces duplicative research by incorporating years of work the DoD has already dedicated toward innovation of care; taking an important first step toward shared facilities, which breaks down artificial barriers for treatments and optimizes taxpayer dollars. This legislation also makes funding dependent upon the DoD and VA’s ability to collaborate on healthcare challenges common to military service.

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and John Tester (D-MT ) have introduced H.R. 852, the Veterans’ Health Promotion Act of 2013, as the Senate companion bill, which was referred to and marked up by the Veterans Affairs Committee and is currently awaiting full Senate action.

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