AUSN

SPRING 2018

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).

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Legislative Update 8 Navy | Spring 2018 Testimony Urges Care Continuity, Quality for Veterans A USN had a strong presence on Capitol Hill in the first quarter of 2018, including testifying before members of Congress and honoring two lawmakers for their work on behalf of veterans and active-duty personnel. National Executive Director Christopher Cole told members of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Commit- tees during his March 6 testi- mony that medical care priorities for this nation's veterans are continuity of care, consistent quality of care and sustained certainty in funding. Cole noted, "It's an exciting time at AUSN, when we are expanding to meet the needs of more and more of our Sailors and veterans. Soon, you'll learn more how AUSN is joining forces with the Navy Safe Harbor Foundation with an innova- tive partnership to help bring a greater level of relief to our shipmates who must live with the effects of their service." Cole raised the issue that "there are two distinctly different medical systems" — those of the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) — treating active-duty service members and veterans, respectively. "AUSN believes that the DoD and VA medical systems should not be concerned with whether the patient is a Sailor deployed on a ship, submarine or ashore, or if the patient is a veteran trying to receive assistance for a disability that he or she suffered while on active duty," he said. "Our men and women should be receiving the same treatment and the same quality care from the day they enter the military and swear their oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America until the day they die." To ensure continuity of care for all, Cole said one solution would be to "incorporate the successful medical care aspects of the DoD medical system with that of the VA." He also encouraged expediting the full digitiza- tion of medical records. "Is it possible for the VA and DoD to have one common digitized medical records program? AUSN says yes, it is possible," Cole testified. "We suggest that to improve alignment, expedite continuity of care and fluidity between the DoD and VA medical systems, digitizing VA medical records should be a top priority." Whether the patient is an active-duty Sailor or a veteran, there should be no difference in the continuity and quality of care that the patient receives, he said. Just as important is the commitment to funding quality care. "e funding for the DoD and VA for veteran medical care must be sustained and consis- tent. At the time of a service-re- lated injury or an exposure to toxins, for example, a veteran may be unaware of current or long-term medical dangers. Congress and our nation should hold the bottom line that veterans should not be denied medical care for deserved and required treat- ment of service-related injuries or exposure to toxins." Joining Cole in testifying before the committees were representatives of American Ex-Prisoners of War, AMVETS, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the National Guard Association of the United States, the Non Commissioned Officers Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America and the Wounded Warrior Project. Gohmert, Duckworth Honored AUSN on March 15 presented its National Legislative Advocacy Award to U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., for their exemplary leadership as champions of the U.S. Navy AUSN National Executive Director Christopher Cole testifies before a joint hearing of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees March 6. BRIAN BAUMAN

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