WASHINGTON, D.C. - Yesterday, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, R. James Nicholson, announced that VA will hire 100 new patient advocates to help severely injured veterans from the current conflicts, and their families, navigate the VA system. The new patient advocates will be veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts themselves.
"Using outreach workers to help our wounded veterans navigate through a complex VA system, is a model I embraced in my legislation on Vet Centers, which was enacted last year," Senator Akaka said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs also announced that all VA health care professionals will receive training in diagnosing traumatic brain injury (TBI), and that VA will expand polytrauma care by adding 17 additional facilities that will be designated as polytrauma network sites.
"I am glad that VA is making strides to improve the training in TBI and in increasing centers to care for veterans with traumatic injuries. As Chairman of the Committee, I have asked Congress to approve a $300 million increase for improved brain injury care in VA," Akaka said. "The number of men and women who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with TBI is increasing and the struggle to make sure they receive the most up-to-date care is a challenge. The steps VA has announced are heading in the right direction."
March 8, 2007