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Expanded health
services to veterans

President Signs Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act

by Astrid Fiano , DOTmed News Writer
On Wednesday, President Obama signed into law the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act. During the ceremony, speaking to a group including disabled veterans and caregivers, Obama said, "As we all know, keeping faith with our veterans and their families is work that is never truly finished. As a nation, as the beneficiaries of their service, there's always more we can do and more that we must do. And that's what we're doing today, as I sign this important legislation."

The law provides several measures to assist disabled veterans and their caregivers, including mental health services, respite care, medical care and a monthly personal caregiver stipend.

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Women veterans' health services will be enhanced, such as a development of a thorough study of the barriers to the provision of comprehensive health care women vets encounter. There will also be a program established to provide graduate medical education for mental health professionals who provide counseling, care, and services for female veterans suffering from sexual trauma and post traumatic stress disorder. Other expansions include maternity care for newborns and a pilot program to provide child care for veterans receiving intensive medical care.

The law provides for demonstration projects for mental health services and access to care in rural areas, help in transportation and housing for veterans to reach a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital or clinic; and it authorizes vets to utilize hospitals and clinics outside the VA system for traumatic brain injury.

The bill also assists financially with veterans who are catastrophically disabled, by a prohibition on collection of co-payments from those veterans. Other provisions include a study on suicide among veterans; expanding support to homeless veterans and establishing help on educational loans for health professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds engaged in clinical research for the Veterans Health Administration.

"This legislation marks a major step forward in America's commitment to families and caregivers who tend to our wounded warriors every day," the president said, in describing the legislation and particular stories of wounded veterans. "To all our veterans and your families, with this legislation we're building a stronger team here at home that you need -- now and for the long road to recovery."

The President's remarks may be accessed at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-signing-caregives-and-veterans-omnibus-health-services-act

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