Congressman Berry’s Statement on the Passage of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009

On April 21, 2010, the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009 passed the House of Representatives with Congressman Marion Berry’s support.  This bill is a landmark move in legislation to expand veterans’ benefits for their service, specifically to assist caregivers, women veterans, and veterans in rural areas. 

 The legislation creates two distinct caregiver support programs, one for caregivers of veterans who served in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and another for caregivers of veterans of all eras.  The bill provides caregivers with benefits such as training, education, counseling, and mental health services.  

 The bill also addresses women veterans’ health concerns by establishing a child care pilot program for women receiving regular and intensive mental health care and intensive health care services, or who are in need of such services but do not seek care due to the lack of child care services. The bill also provides up to seven days of post-delivery health care to a newborn child of a woman veteran.

Among many other provisions, the bill addresses mental health by requiring the VA to conduct a veterans’ suicide study and addresses veterans’ homelessness by authorizing the VA to make per-diem payments to organizations that meet some of the criteria for the receipt of payments under the Grant and Per Diem Program.

“It is often hard to show our appreciation for the many sacrifices that our military men and women endure to defend this country.” Berry said. “Beyond our prayers, the greatest gift of gratitude we can give is ensuring that our veterans receive the best treatment available when they return home. I am proud that Congress has taken this step to provide our veterans with the care that they have earned. ”