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Senior Spectrum Newspaper
December 2017
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Golden Pages
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Generation Boomer

Senior Spectrum Publications

Opinion
by U.S. Senator Dean Heller

An Improved VA is One Way to Show Our Country’s Deep Appreciation 

 U.S. Senator Dean Heller
U.S. Senator Dean Heller

This past month, Nevadans and Americans across the country paused to honor and reflect on the selfless sacrifices made by our nation’s military veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

I was honored to be a part of the numerous Veterans Day events that occurred across our state and speak directly with many Nevadans who served our great country in conflicts spanning from World War II to the post-9/ 11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Additionally, I was able to be at the grand-opening of the new Veterans Village Crisis Intervention Center, a 24/7 center that will go a long way toward assisting veterans in need of a home, mental health treatment, employment training, and more.

Every day I’m humbled to represent Nevada’s 300,000 veterans and the larger military community. Our country is truly indebted to our fallen heroes and veterans for defending this country and protecting the freedoms that make it unique. And that’s why I am fighting day in and day out as a senior member of the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to ensure our warriors have the best care and benefits that this nation has promised them.

In just over the last few months, our Committee, and Congress in whole, has put aside partisanship and passed several meaningful pieces of legislation into law to help restore our nation’s sacred promise to our veterans. Bills to bring accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), expand veterans’ GI Bill education benefits, ensure veterans’ continued access to life-saving surgeries, and offer veterans more options when appealing their disability claims have all been signed into law by President Trump. And I’m proud to have played a key part in pushing these bills over the finish line.

I believe it is our nation’s solemn responsibility to support those who put their lives on the line. That’s why I also recently introduced legislation that stops the VA from hiding medical mistakes made by its providers. The bipartisan VA Provider Accountability Act arrives after a USA Today investigation recently revealed the VA has for years repeatedly buried and concealed poor care and mistakes made by its medical workers.

My bill will require the VA to report major adverse actions to the National Practitioner Data Bank and state licensing boards. It will also prohibit the VA from signing settlements with fired or dismissed VA employees that commits the VA to concealing serious medical errors or purging negative records from personnel files.

We must not forget that the individual sacrifices made by our troops have built the foundation that has enabled the United States to stand as a beacon of freedom worldwide, and it’s why I strongly believe an improved VA is just one way to show our country’s deep appreciation for their service.

I’ll continue to build on these results and work to empower Nevada’s veterans with more tools to succeed. As always, I encourage veterans and their family members to use my office as a resource whether it’s navigating the health care or retirement benefits offered through VA – we are here to help you. Contact my office in Reno at (775) 686-5770 or my office in Las Vegas at (702) 388-6605 for assistance.