With U.S. operations in Iraq over, Afghanistan operations winding down, and the military reducing its total number of soldiers, the need for veterans services across our nation will continue to grow. Many young veterans are finding that America's system of health care, disability, education and job placement benefits are often under-funded and backlogged by red tape. I am dedicated to helping veterans secure additional funding, and it is important that this funding directly benefit veterans through state-of-the-art medical facilities. We must make certain that Veterans Administration (VA) is held accountable for the lack of service and unreasonable waiting times that exist for thousands of veterans.
It was with great pride that I was able to help bring the Oakland Park VA medical clinic to Broward County. I have also been working to improve the quality of care at the West Palm Beach VA hospital. I am proud that I have had successes in that area and will continue to work with the proper authorities as we move forward.
After the Miami VA disclosed its improper use of endoscopy equipment in December 2008, I urged the VA to create and implement a comprehensive and efficient set of procedures for the proper set up, use, reprocessing and maintenance of all reusable endoscopy equipment in all VA medical facilities throughout the United States and to take strong measures to provide testing and care to the 3,000 patients at risk of cross contamination, retrain medical personnel, and develop stronger efforts to track and improve accountability within all medical facilities.
I have co-sponsored numerous pieces of legislation to expand veterans’ services, including health care access and quality, housing rehabilitation, educational programs, employment opportunities, and benefits for the surviving spouses and children of veterans, among others. Furthermore, I believe that it is crucial to honor the lives of those who fought so bravely to protect our freedom and security.
After serving our country so valiantly, veterans and their families must be provided with quality health care as well as the most accessible and affordable support services. Increasing accessibility and providing a better understanding of the benefits that our veterans must have is a top priority of mine. I have consistently worked to ensure that those who have served this great nation be recognized, honored, and provided with the services they rightly deserve. Rest assured that I am working hard to build better lives for America's veterans and their families. These men and women deserve nothing less.
Veterans History Project
I am extremely proud to participate in the Veterans History Project (VHP), run by the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. VHP’s mission is to keep the memory of veterans’ lives and combat experiences alive throughout the ages. It preserves, collects and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations will hear directly from veterans and thus have a better understanding of the realities of war. VHP relies on the help of volunteers to find veterans’ stories, collect belongings and record interviews.
If you would like to be part of this wonderful project by volunteering your time or for more information, please visit the Veterans History Project at www.loc.gov/vets.
Click here for current Florida veterans statistics.