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Senator Hassan Votes to Advance Landmark Legislation She & Colleagues Introduced to Strengthen Health Care for Post-9/11 Veterans Exposed to Toxic Substances

Package Includes Elements of Sen. Hassan’s Bipartisan Bill to Help Veterans Get Care They Need More Quickly

WASHINGTON – As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan today helped advance historic bipartisan legislation to strengthen health care for veterans who served after September 11, 2001, including those who were exposed to toxic substances during their service. The bipartisan Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act that passed the committee includes key pieces of Senator Hassan’s bipartisan bill, the TEAM Act.

 

“Veterans who have served bravely in defense of our freedoms must have access to the health care that they need,” Senator Hassan said. “This important bill will ensure that all who have served post-9/11 have more access to critical VA services for illnesses related to toxic exposure during their service. While we still have more work to do to ensure that all veterans can access the high-quality health care that they deserve, today’s vote is an important step in the right direction.”

 

Among its many provisions, the bipartisan Health Care for Burn Pit Veterans Act would:

 

  • Expand the period of health care eligibility for combat veterans who served after September 11, 2001 from five years following discharge to ten years;
  • Provide a one-year open enrollment period for any Post-9/11 combat veterans who are outside their 10-year window;
  • Establish an outreach plan to contact veterans who did not enroll during their initial period of enhanced eligibility; and
  • Mandate toxic exposure related education and training for healthcare and benefits personnel at VA.

 

The bipartisan package also includes key measures from Senators Hassan and Thom Tillis’s (R-NC) bipartisan TEAM Actincluding to:

 

  • Require the VA to screen veterans for potential toxic exposure;
  • Require the VA to compile and analyze data to identify a potential link between a veteran’s medical conditions and toxic exposure; and
  • Direct the VA to develop an outreach program to veterans and their families regarding benefits and support programs related to toxic exposure.

 

Senator Hassan is working across the aisle on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to help ensure that veterans, service members, and their families have the support that they need to thrive. Senator Hassan recently attended the White House signing ceremony for the Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act of 2021, which she introduced with Senator Mike Braun (R-IN). The bill directs the VA to create a program to recruit military medical personnel who have less than one year left in their service to work in federal health care occupations at the VA. The Senator is also working to improve veterans’ mental health, and recently the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed her bipartisan bill that would improve upon an existing VA program, the Solid Start program, to ensure that the VA is reaching out to newly-separated veterans.

 

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