Since my first days in Congress, I have promised to leave no veteran behind and every day I work to fulfill that promise. Our men and women in uniform serve with honor and when they come home, they deserve the best we can offer. Having traveled around western and central Wisconsin and visited Iraq four times and Afghanistan twice, I have heard from a number of Wisconsinites currently serving in our nation’s armed forces. It has become very clear that in these challenging economic times we must do more to provide for the basic needs of our troops and veterans. It is critical that we ensure there is a robust VA medical system available so that Wisconsin’s veterans can get the quality care they earned and deserve.
Last year, serious problems with pain management practices were discovered at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Clinic (VAMC). In March of 2014, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) concluded an investigation into allegations of misconduct at the Tomah VAMC. Unfortunately, they failed to notify Congress and did not post the results of their report on their website. In order make sure this never happens in the future, I led the Wisconsin delegation in introducing and passing the bipartisan Inspectors General Transparency Act of 2015. This bill increases government transparency by ensuring that all OIG reports are published on the OIG website and submitted to the head of the establishment under investigation, the individual or entity requesting the investigation, and Congress.
Additionally, one of the recommendations from the OIG investigation was to create a collaborative pain management team, similar to the tumor board model, to better coordinate pain management in very complex cases. Based on this recommendation, I introduced the bipartisan Veterans Pain Management Improvement Act, which would establish a pain management oversight board within each Veterans Integrated Service Network comprised of health care professionals, clinical patients and/or family members of a clinical patient. This legislation will give veteran patients and their families a real role in VA oversight and help ensure the VA provides better care for our veterans.
Veterans History Project
I believe we owe an enormous debt to our men and women in uniform. A great way to show our gratitude is to encourage them to share their memories and experiences. This is why I authored legislation creating the Veterans History Project, which allows veterans and their families to record their stories and preserve them for future generations. These recordings are entered into the permanent collection in the Library of Congress, where they will serve as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices these men and women made defending our country.
For more information concerning work and views related to Veterans issues, please contact our office.
More on Veterans
La Crosse, WI – This week, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind voted in favor of the Forever G.I. Bill, which expands the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Rep. Kind is a cosponsor of the bipartisan bill and helped push the bill towards passage. It removes time limits placed on veterans to receive G.I. Bill benefits and gives veterans and their family members increased access to education programs.
Eau Claire, WI – Today, the US House of Representatives passed US Rep. Ron Kind’s Honoring Our Heroes Act, making it easier for the families of deceased veterans to obtain replacement medals when the original medals have been lost.
La Crosse, WI – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind voted in support of a bipartisan bill that would streamline and improve the process for VA Medical Centers, like Tomah, to hire and retain needed health care professionals. This comes amid staffing shortages at the Tomah VA Medical Center and VA Medical Centers across Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind co-sponsored a bill to exempt the Department of Veterans Affairs from President Trump’s hiring freeze. Many VA Medical Centers across Wisconsin and Minnesota, including the Tomah VA, are in need of qualified health care professionals and the hiring freeze makes it harder to fill those positions.
This week President Trump signed an Executive Order to institute a hiring freeze at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which comes amid staffing shortages at the Tomah VA Medical Center and VA Medical Centers across Wisconsin and Minnesota. Below is Rep. Kind’s statement on the Executive Order:
US Rep. Ron Kind introduced the bipartisan Honoring Our Heroes Act, which allows family members within four generations to a veteran to apply for replacement medals, once all immediate family have passed away. This bill comes after an Eau Claire County resident reached out to Rep. Kind’s office after having problems getting her great-uncle’s Purple Heart.
The La Crosse Collaborative to End Homelessness announced that it met the goal they set in September: to end homelessness for veterans. Below is U.S. Rep. Kind’s statement on the announcement:
U.S. Congressman Ron Kind presented World War 2 veteran and Eleva resident Ed Ross with replacement service medals and decorations Rep. Kind’s office helped him receive at a ceremony at the American Legion in Eleva.
La Crosse, WI – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind’s bipartisan legislation to fix the problems at the Tomah VA, the Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, passed the House with almost unanimous support. The legislation will now go to the Senate for a vote and then to the President’s desk.
La Crosse, WI – The House and Senate Conference Committee on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act released their final bill late last night. The bill includes Rep. Kind’s legislation, the Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, and will now go on to the House and Senate for a final vote.