The Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020

By Faye Higbee

On Tuesday, President Trump signed “The Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020” into law. The law, also known as HR 7105, is 360 pages long.

The bill honors retired Senator Johnny Isakson, who retired in 2019 due to health concerns. He was once a member of the Georgia National Guard.

Former Senator Johnny Isakson

“Today’s signing of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 is a win for the entire veteran community. The VA provides preeminent health care for our members who have spinal cord injuries or diseases, such as MS and ALS. Our members rely on the VA system of care, but when they don’t feel safe, can’t get basic exams, or are unable to gain access to health care facilities, they are forced to rely on substandard community care, or worse, they opt not to get care at all.

This bill improves the quality of health care and benefits our members and their survivors receive. It also helps them to live a life of freedom and independence and reduces hardships on their families and caregivers. We are grateful that Congress and the President worked together to recognize the unique needs of our nation’s veterans and stand at the ready to ensure that each provision is implemented effectively.”

Paralyzed Veterans of America Executive Director Carl Blake

The bill specifically makes changes to Women’s Health in the US Military, and requires some changes in that area.

For nearly four years, IAVA has been working hard to see this legislation finally cross the finish line, and we can now send a powerful message to women veterans that our nation respects their service and will not tolerate substandard care for them at the VA,” said Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

In addition to improving health services for women, the bill aims to address a negative culture for women at VA facilities. It would require the VA to create an anti-harassment and anti-sexual assault policy and designate someone at each facility to receive reports of harassment. A working group will be created to help implement the policy.

Stripes

The bill also contains clauses designed to address coronavirus, both with VA medical facilities, as well as renovate homeless veterans housing to accommodate “social distancing.” It also requires veteran’s homes to report cases of coronavirus to the VA.

The bill also contains protections for student veterans under the GI Bill, and also for Native American veterans to not be charged copayments for VA treatment.

Our nation’s veterans deserve and expect quality health care and benefits from the government, whether it’s pandemic assistance and proper burials to retraining assistance and housing. This legislation is designed to help the government better deliver critical services, like those noted above, to the veteran community. Other key provisions included in this bill are: eliminating the 12-year delimiting date for disabled veterans to receive counseling, training, and benefits under the Veteran Readiness and Employment program for eligible disabled veterans who separate from military service after January 1, 2013; requiring the VA to provide disability benefits questionnaires online; and lowering the age a surviving spouse may remarry and still receive dependency and indemnity compensation benefits.

HeraldMailMedia

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Featured photo: screenshot via cv4a

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