Continues Support for Strengthening VA Services for Women Veterans
Aug 03 2021
WASHINGTON– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) continues leading legislative efforts to improve Department of Veterans (VA) Affairs health care for women veterans. The senator is spearheading a bipartisan effort to expand access to high-quality breast cancer screening and life-saving care for veterans with the recent introduction of the Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act.
“The VA is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the fight against breast cancer. By harnessing the research and technology available nationwide, the Department can be better-suited to address the needs of breast cancer patients across the country. Upgrading the VA’s breast cancer imaging capability and expanding its services is key to prevention and treatment,” Boozman said. “I’m pleased to continue our commitment to ensuring veterans have access to the best cancer care available and build on the momentum of the landmark Deborah Sampson Act so we can provide women veterans with the VA resources and specialty care they need.”
The MAMMO for Veterans Act would require the VA to develop a strategic plan to improve breast imaging services, create a telemammography pilot program for veterans in areas where VA does not offer in-house mammography and expand veterans’ access to clinical trials through partnerships with the National Cancer Institute.
The legislation would also require the VA to upgrade all in-house breast imaging to 3D mammography, which is considered the gold standard imaging technology. It would also direct the VA to expand partnerships for clinical trials and research on breast cancer care and emphasize improving access to care for women veterans, rural veterans and disabled and paralyzed veterans.
Boozman joined Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT) as well as Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in introducing this legislation. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee members Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) and Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) are leading a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
Numerous Veterans Service Organizations praised congressional efforts to improve and expand veterans’ access to critical breast cancer screening and treatment. The legislation has the support of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project, Military Officers Association of America and the National Rural Health Association.
Boozman’s leadership on this legislation continues his commitment to expanding VA services to women veterans. This follows unanimous passage of Boozman’s Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee last week. His legislation would require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.
These legislative efforts build on the Deborah Sampson Act, a bipartisan initiative to eliminate barriers to care and services that many women face when accessing VA benefits championed, by Boozman and signed into law by President Trump in January 2021.