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March / April 2009

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March / April 2009


BY MARSHA FOUR, CHAIR


This was a busy year. Driven by our resolutions, we began the year by reviewing two pieces of legislation, HR 4107 and S 2199, which dealt with women veterans’ health care. The staff director of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs’ Subcommittee on Health met with the full Women Veterans Committee once and with several members on a second occasion to discuss language and additional items for inclusion. One of the items was a long-term health study, to include autoimmune disorders, of in-country Vietnam women veterans. Neither bill passed in the 110th Congress. However, we were told that new legislation likely would be introduced.

And it was. HR 1211, the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act, was introduced on February 26, 2009, by Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-S.D.). VVA was invited to provide testimony on this bill, to which the committee contributed. It is scheduled for a hearing in the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Health. Check it out on www.thomas.loc.gov On another legislative front, the committee also contributed to VVA congressional testimonies and one state field hearing.

The committee is mailing a survey to our women veteran members on VA health care and benefits, the return of which will be anonymous. We will use this information to develop a thumbnail sketch of our women veteran members that can be used in congressional testimony, when addressing issues of importance with the VA, and in better understanding our membership base. Please take the time to return this survey.

VVA and other VSOs received an invitation to a meeting of the VA Office of Research and Development related to women and minority veterans. Sara McVicker represented this committee.

The committee has been working on the 2009 National Convention resolutions for several months. The following is a synopsis of our efforts:

WV-2-05 Medical Treatment of Women Veterans by DVA remains; however, language will be enhanced, along with several expansive resolved items. We continue to stress the content of this resolution in congressional testimony and contact with the VA Women Veterans Strategic Health Care Group, the Center for Women Veterans, and members of the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans. Oversight and accountability are a priority.

WV-3-05 Support for Women Veterans remains for re-consideration at the Convention. The committee continues to distribute information to all state council presidents. We began this process ten years ago, hoping to get increased resources to the states. More recently, following a suggestion from the CSCP, we brought this process into the computerized age.

WV-4-03 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Women Veteran Program Managers will be retired at Convention. VVA and this committee have spent years advancing this resolution. Last year, the VA changed its inconsistent approach to the staffing allocation of Women Veteran Program Managers, elevating them to full-time positions system wide.

I want to thank the entire committee for the work they have contributed.


The Women Veterans Committee: Marsha Four, Chair; Sandy Miller, Vice Chair. Members: Connie Christensen, Sandie Wilson, Sara McVicker, John Wallace, Leslie DeLong, Beverly Stewart, Billee Culin, Carol Schetrompf, and past member, Tom Berger. VVA Staff Liaison: Sharon Hodge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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