Veterans Health Care Committee Update March/April 2016

The Veterans Health Care Committee is a coordinating committee that includes the chairs of other VVA standing committees, the Veterans Health Council, and members interested in veterans’ health issues. Whenever legislative action is needed to provide access, quality, and accountability for veterans’ health care, VVA Government Affairs Department staff attend the Health Care Committee meetings.

In collaboration with VVA’s Veterans Health Council, the committee plays a role in ensuring that VVA’s human subjects research policy meets federal policy protections for those wanting to conduct research with our membership. It is also one of the committee’s objectives to monitor health care and medical research for other generations of veterans and veteran families (e.g., Gulf War illness). This is certainly within the scope of VVA’s founding principle, “Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another.”

Another goal of the committee is health education. This is accomplished in numerous ways. For example, several VVA committees have requested time at the upcoming VVA National Education & Leadership Conference to present veterans’ health-related seminars. The committee has also developed pamphlets and fliers on veterans’ health conditions related to toxic exposures during military service. These publications are designed to educate veterans sufficiently enough to ask the right questions of their health care providers.

In addition, the committee distributes the VA’s “Military History” cards to health care providers to help them know what questions a veteran should be asked during a medical exam. Help is needed to educate your health care provider that a veteran’s health may differ as a result of military service.

As veterans grow older, their bodies and minds are experiencing more of the health consequences of their military service, so the committee also assists the Veterans Health Council in its health education efforts, including national broadcasts of seminars and webinars that focus on diseases and illnesses related to military service. The webinars include bladder and prostate cancers, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, and hepatitis C.

Sandie Wilson, Chair

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