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Pingree’s Initiatives to Support Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma, Veterans with Dementia Pass U.S. House

Today, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H.R. 7105, the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvements Act, a comprehensive veterans’ bill including improvements supported by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), with several provisions she authored as part of H.R. 1092, the Servicemembers and Veterans Empowerment and Support Act.

“Every year I hear from dozens of servicemembers and veterans who have experienced sexual trauma in the military and are desperate for help from my office because their benefit claim was denied by the VA. Over 125,000 women in the VA medical system have experienced sexual trauma—that’s almost 30% of female veterans—and that’s not including those who haven’t come forward with their stories,” said Pingree. “We have to do better for those who served our country. That’s why I introduced the Servicemembers and Veterans Empowerment and Support Act, and I’m pleased that pieces of that legislation received the House’s full support today.”

The omnibus bill passed by the House included twoprovisions from Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s bill, H.R. 1092, the Servicemembers and Veterans Empowerment and Support Act:

  • requirement for the VA to establish specialized teams to process claims for compensation for a covered mental health condition based on military sexual trauma experienced by a veteran during military service, who are to be trained to identify markers indicating military sexual trauma. 
  • requirement for annual reports by the VA on MST claims submitted during the previous fiscal year to identify and track the consistency of decisions across 14 regional offices of the VA.  

The sweeping veterans package also includes legislative text from the bipartisan State Veterans Homes Domiciliary Care Flexibility Act which was introduced by the Maine Delegation in the House by Congressmen Golden (ME-2) with Congresswoman Pingree and Congressman Young (AK-AL). The bill would address a gap in care for veterans in Maine living with early-stage dementia, as identified by the Maine State Veterans Homes. This provision previously passed the Senate

“No one should be denied the care they need. I’m proud this bill will help Maine veterans who are living with early-stage dementia access care in state veterans’ homes. The Maine State Veterans Homes are well-equipped to support veterans with dementia, and I’m glad we’re taking steps to correct oversights that have previously prevented important care,” said Pingree.

Additionally, the omnibus bill includes the Deborah Sampson Act, a comprehensive women veterans’ bill that creates a dedicated Office of Women’s Health at VA, eliminates barriers to care by staffing every VA health facility with a dedicated women’s health primary care provider, bolsters supportive services for female veterans, and improves access to care and benefits for survivors of MST. 




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