AUSN

FALL-WINTER 2017

Navy magazine is distributed on Capitol Hill,the Pentagon and naval bases around the world. It provides information that impacts Sailors, their families and the Navy. Navy is published quarterly by the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN).

Issue link: http://digital.ausn.org/i/923168

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8 Navy | Fall/Winter 2017 Legislative Affairs Legislative Update: Digging into AUSN's Legislative Agendas A USN's Legislation Department has been busy since the congressional recess, meeting with over 60 offices, calls with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to discuss Blue Water Navy and including the Coast Guard in the new Department of Defense (DoD) and VA electronic healthcare record system. We have also been keeping track of the Senate's progress with the National Defense Autho- rization Act (NDAA), which passed the Senate Sept. 18. AUSN provided both cham- bers feedback for 20 proposals which were included in both NDAA bills. Both the House and the Senate are sorting out the differences between the two passed legislation pieces. Although the Senate has not yet released the full text of the bill, there are more than 300 amendments in the bill, including Burn Pits and another round of base closings. Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act (aka "Burn Pits") S.319 has been a major legislation topic for AUSN the last several years. Additionally, the Senate NDAA allows for an increase in military personnel and 2.1% pay raise for troops, as well as funding for 13 new Navy ships. AUSN will continue to monitor the House and Senate for the final agreement on the 2018 NDAA. Pressing the SECVA on Important Issues I had a follow up recently with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David Shulkin, about restoring benefits to Blue Water Navy Veterans, including the Coast Guard in the new DoD and VA electronic healthcare record system, and about the use of Stellate Ganglion Block and Ketamine for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Secretary Shulkin told me that the VA and Congress have to do the right thing for these Veterans, not push the decision on the Blue Water Navy Act down the road. AUSN and other Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) are hoping his decision will come soon. Electronic Health Care Records for the Coast Guard I also discussed including the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in the new elec- tronic health care record system. Currently the USCG does not have any electronic health care record system and was not included in the new contract between the DoD and VA. Retired USCG members are entitled to Title 38 benefits from the VA, but Secretary Shulkin was not aware that the lack of elec- tronic records was an issue. Aer our call with him, the Secretary testified before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs acknowledging that the VA and DoD need to include the Coast Guard in the new electronic health care record system to fix this problem. Veterans with PTSD/TBIs I also asked the Secretary if the VA has considered allowing Veterans diagnosed with PTSD or TBI to be treated with Stellate Ganglion Block. e Secretary told AUSN that the VA has been testing Stellate Ganglion Block, but the tests have a lot of errors. Currently, the VA can offer the drug to Veterans individually in some VA facilities. AUSN is hoping for the VA to increase the uses of this drug and other drugs that will help those Veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI. In the Fall, AUSN's Legislative team briefed 60 AUSN Interns Kyle Dewhurst, Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spen- cer, Lauren Govoruhk, and Zach Ryan at the Navy Memorial Fantail Breakfast in September.

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