Soldiers, Families, and Army Civilians Army Health Care

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1 Soldiers, Families, and Army Civilians Army Health Care High quality health care is a critical aspect of caring for Soldiers and their Families and is imperative for sustaining the Army. Significant strides have been made in health care support for Soldiers, Family members, and Retirees by the Administration and Congress, and their continuing support is vital. High quality health care at home station and on the battlefield continues to be one of the Army s top priorities. The level of military activity over the last ten years will create greater demands on our health care system, including the Veteran s Administration, as larger numbers of retirees require additional medical and dental services. Authorization and funding of health and dental care is also necessary for the readiness of all Reserve Component (RC) Soldiers. The RC has become an operational force and the use of the RC in support of current conflicts and other worldwide requirements highlights this need. TRICARE costs and accessibility are important issues for Soldiers, Family members, and Retirees. Costs to beneficiaries must consider the sacrifice all Soldiers make for this Nation and reimbursement rates to civilian medical providers must be sufficient to ensure their participation. Wounded Warriors and their Families must receive the finest medical care and rehabilitative support. The administrative process and procedure link between the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs must become seamless. The U.S. 1

2 Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW) aids the most seriously ill and injured Soldiers in this transition; however, continued funding is essential to meet the special needs of our Soldiers. The operational tempo of current conflicts is increasing the mental health needs of our Soldiers and Families. A high rate of suicides among our military personnel continues. Also, many returned veterans have joined the homeless population across America. Our Soldiers are returning from a very structured military environment often with limited skills to aid their re-integration into life away from war. Resiliency training is essential to enable Soldiers to handle the psychological effects of deployments and the transition back home. Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) may not surface for years. The VA must be authorized and funded to provide services beyond the current year limitation to those members no longer in the Army, regardless of when they are diagnosed. Providing high quality accessible and affordable health care to our Soldiers, Family members, and Retirees is critical for sustaining the readiness of our Army and a much deserved benefit for the sacrifices they have made to protect and defend our nation. Any erosion of health care benefits is unacceptable. Our men and women in uniform and the Families who support them deserve nothing less. WE THEREFORE RESOLVE to urge the Administration and Congress to: Fund high quality health care to ensure access for all beneficiaries and oppose excessive TRICARE fee increases

3 Enhance and fully fund pharmacy programs for all beneficiaries Provide a subsidy for the Retirees Dental Plan similar to the plan for active duty Family members Increase funding for the behavioral health care needs (both hospital and community based) of all Soldiers, their Families, and surviving spouses and children Fully fund the Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW) Provide funding to increase reimbursement rates to TRICARE and MEDICARE providers to encourage increased provider participation Extend indefinitely the time for service members to make medical claims for such injuries as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Depression or other physiological, psychological and/or behavioral diagnosis. 0 1 Enact legislation to change the TRICARE Prime travel benefits threshold for mileage reimbursement from 0 miles to 0 miles one way for visits to a specialty provider. Fund the military health care system to provide post-deployment transitional care for Soldiers until the Veterans Administration system can assume responsibility

4 Permanently approve the health care provider occupations covered by the DoD annual direct hire and expand the OPM/DoD direct hire authority to 0 health care provider specialties Enact legislation to provide a stipend to RC advanced degree Mental Health Students. Enact legislation to fund chiropractic care for Soldiers, their Families, and Retirees Enact legislation to require costs for access to TRICARE benefits by RC Gray Area Retirees be commensurate with those for Regular Army Retirees Fully fund programs to assist returning injured Soldiers and Families in reintegrating into civilian life and employment Fully fund the MEDEVAC Air Ambulance (HH-0) Program Provide funding for standardization and availability of respite care for all Wounded Warrior caregivers fund Tricare Reserve Select medical and dental insurance for RC Soldiers to ensure they are deployable Provide funding for suicide prevention programs to include the Health Promotion, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program, Risk

5 Reduction and Suicide Prevention for Soldiers and Family members. Provide funding for resiliency training Fully fund embedding behavioral health care specialists with Reserve Component units at their training sites Ensure adequate funding of the Veterans Administration to accommodate the needs of medically disabled and retired Soldiers Fund the effort to fully automate medical records for Soldiers and the records interface between DoD and VA Authorize and fund a single disability adjudication process that emphasizes rehabilitation and transition back into service or civilian life Authorize and fund additional special pays for providers in communities where TRICARE providers are limited Provide funding for additional drug and alcohol counselors Provide funding for initial furnishing, fixtures, and equipment requirements when new medical facilities are approved

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