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VA Needs Legislative Push to Inform Veterans of Health Issues Connected to Military Service
Date:5/19/2009

WASHINGTON, May 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Federal law stipulates that the Department of Veterans Affairs has a responsibility to inform veterans of the benefits they have earned by virtue of their service to our nation while in uniform," said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). "What is needed, however, is legislation to mandate that the VA inform veterans -- and the healthcare community -- of health issues associated with military service."

In testimony today before the Subcommittee on Health of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Rowan said that the VA "does a woefully inadequate job of reaching out to veterans and their families to inform them of the benefits to which they are entitled" -- certainly to the almost 80 percent of veterans who do not use the VA for their health care.

This state of affairs has led VVA, in concert with dozens of health advocacy organizations, healthcare firms, and others concerned about improving the health of our nation's veterans, to create the Veterans Health Council. "By working together," Rowan said, "we hope to reach out to veterans and their families to inform them about those diseases and other maladies that may derive from their time in service. We hope, too, to reach out to the wider healthcare community, to educate them about such health conditions.

"Through our Web site, www.veteranshealth.org, and the Web sites and publications of our partners, we can reach hundreds of thousands of veterans who otherwise might not know that a disease that is plaguing them and eating away at their savings may be associated with their service in Vietnam, or Kuwait, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, and that they are eligible for treatment and may qualify for disability compensation and pension as well as other benefits from the VA.

"While we have every confiden
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SOURCE Vietnam Veterans of America
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