March 22, 2017

Kaine Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Improve Quality Of Care For Women Veterans At Department Of Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. -  U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), John Boozman (R-AR) and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) to introduce bipartisan legislation to improve services and access at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) for women veterans. The Deborah Sampson Act addresses gender disparities at the VA to ensure that women veterans are getting equitable care. The bill will provide enhanced access to VA care and will ensure women veterans are getting the benefits they have earned through their service. Additionally, the bill will address the needs of women veterans who are more likely to face homelessness, unemployment, and go without needed health care.

“As women continue to make up a larger portion of our veteran population in Virginia and across the country, the VA must adjust accordingly so it can provide the highest level of care to everyone who has served their country,” said Kaine. “This bill not only addresses cultural challenges in the VA but also critical capacity and resource challenges that my office has heard about directly from women veterans in Virginia, and I’m hopeful the Senate will make this a top priority this Congress.”

The Deborah Sampson Act does the following:

  • Empowers women veterans by expanding peer-to-peer counseling, group counseling and call centers for women veterans,
  • Improves the quality of care for infant children of women veterans by increasing the number of days of maternity care VA facilities can provide and authorizing medically-necessary transportation for newborns,
  • Eliminates barriers to care by increasing the number of gender-specific providers and coordinators in VA facilities, training clinicians, and retrofitting VA facilities to enhance privacy and improve the environment of care for women veterans,
  • Provides support services for women veterans seeking legal assistance and authorizes additional grants for organizations supporting low-income women veterans,
  • Improves the collection and analysis of data regarding women and minority veterans, and expands outreach by centralizing all information for women veterans in one easily accessible place on the VA website.

The Deborah Sampson Act is also cosponsored by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

The bill is endorsed by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), The American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA).

The bill can be found online HERE.  A one pager can be downloaded HERE.

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