Senate Passes Defense Bill

Last week, the Senate passed S. 4049, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA). This legislation includes a VFW-supported provision to add bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and parkinsonism to the list of presumptive conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange. The scientific community concurs that sufficient evidence exists to link these three conditions. The VFW urges the House and Senate to keep this provision in the final version of the NDAA.

House Holds Markup on VFW-Supported Legislation

Last Thursday, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a markup hearing on 12 pieces of legislation. The VFW-supported bills considered at the hearing include H.R. 5487, the Veterans Cemetery Grants Improvement Act; H.R. 5639, the Chuck Osier Burial Benefits Act; and H.R. 7795, To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the ability of veterans to access and submit disability benefit questionnaire forms of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The committee voted to approve all 12 bills which will be considered by the entire House.

House Holds Hearing on Veterans Homes Handling of COVID-19

Last Wednesday, members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee and Women Veterans Task Force conducted a hearing on the oversight of state veterans homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. VA carries out annual inspections, offers guidance, and makes federal payments to 148 state veterans homes. These are nursing homes, domiciliary care, or adult day care facilities owned and operated by state governments. About two-thirds of the state veterans’ homes are also inspected by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Representatives from Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition, National Association of State Veterans Homes, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) discussed the three state veterans homes hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Veterans Health Administration Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Clinical Services Dr. Teresa Boyd explained the timeline to address the recommendations in the July 2020 GAO report.

VA 72-Hour Emergency Care Notification Change

Veterans who present to an in-network community emergency department or are admitted to a community hospital, must notify the VA with in 72 hours to be considered for payment. The new centralized phone number is (844) 724-7842.

Important Dates in August

The month of August has many important military days. Here are just a few:

August is Anti-terrorism Awareness Month.

Aug. 1: Air Force Day

Aug. 4: Coast Guard Day

Aug. 7: Purple Heart Day

Aug. 14: Navajo Code Talkers Day

Aug. 16: National Airborne Day

Aug. 29: Marine Corp Reserve Birthday

Until next week, praying for all.


– Charles Castelluccio