Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) helped pass landmark legislation to improve care for wounded troops and veterans when they return home from battle. The Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act passed the Senate today by unanimous consent.
Senator Patty Murray on the passage of this landamark legislation:
"Today, the Senate took action to provide real solutions that meet the needs of our troops and veterans from the battlefield to the VA and everywhere in between. The Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act finally recognizes our troops as a cost of this war and reverses the trend of administration inaction that has cost them so dearly.
"From inexcusably long waits for basic care and claims, to squalid living conditions, to daunting mazes of paperwork, our heroes deserve better than what they have received from this administration. Under our new direction in Congress, we have made real and immediate progress in making changes, while the administration continues to lag behind. Today, as the President considers the results of a study he commissioned nearly five months ago to examine the extent of problems, we are acting to fix them.
"Without hesitation or complaint our men and women in uniform have answered the call to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have left loved ones for years, put their careers on hold, and put their lives on the line. We owe them this prompt and comprehensive response to the problems that have plagued their care."
Here are some of the highlights of the Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act:
- Requires the Department of Defense and VA to work together to develop a comprehensive plan to prevent, treat and diagnose TBI and PTSD.
- Directs the two agencies to develop and implement a joint electronic health record so that critical medical records are not lost as our wounded troops move from battlefield doctors to medical holds and on to the VA.
- Requires the military to use VA standards for rating disabilities, only allowing deviation from VA standards when it will result in a higher disability rating for the service member.
- Requires the military to adopt the VA presumption that a disease or injury is service-connected when our heroes – who were healthy prior to service – have spent 6 months or more in active duty
The bill also addresses:
- substandard facilities
- lack of seamless transition from DOD to the VA
- inadequacy of severance pay
- and medical care for caregivers not eligible for TRICARE.