LAMB BIPARTISAN BILL REMOVES OBSTACLES FOR VETERANS TO SERVE DURING COVID-19 EMERGENCY
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17) was joined by Representative Neal Dunn (FL-2) and a bipartisan coalition of Members to introduce the Supporting Education Recognition for Veterans during Emergencies (SERVE) Act. The legislation will ensure veterans’ service-connected medical qualifications and expertise are utilized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and civilian healthcare facilities to meet the challenges of the Coronavirus public health emergency.
“It’s simple – veterans have received some of the best training available and want to contribute after they return to civilian life,” said Lamb. “The emergency medical training they get during their military service is in dire need. We need to make it easier for our veterans to serve our communities during this pandemic.”
“As a veteran myself, I can attest to the incredible amount of detailed training and experience veterans receive while serving in our military. It is a waste to all of our industries and communities to not allow them to utilize their talents and skill sets upon return to civilian life,” said Dunn. “During the current pandemic, these individuals could make significant contributions to our communities given their extensive medical skills. It’s high time we formally recognize their special training and give them the opportunity to further serve our nation.”
Recently, two veterans service organizations (VSOs) led a petition citing veterans’ willingness to serve their communities again and asking for improvements to the existing credentialing system to better recognize the medical skills of veterans. To answer this call, the SERVE Act:
- Directs the VA to identify veterans with former military medical occupation specialties and document their medical experience and training competencies through a web portal which will allow veterans to provide contact information on a voluntary basis as well;
- Allows the VA to share volunteered information from veterans with medical backgrounds with state Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Labor, VSOs, and state-credentialing bodies, to facilitate the credentialing process at the state-level for qualified veterans;
- Permanently authorizes the Intermediate Care Technician (ICT) program, which is designed to hire former military corpsmen and medics into positions at VA Medical Centers and has a successful track record to date;
- Requires a study on whether the existing ICT program can be replicated for other military medical specialties to further expand pathways for transitioning service members and veterans so they may continue to utilize their service-connected medical training.
The SERVE Act is supported by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Union Veterans Council (UVC) AFL-CIO and Team Rubicon.
"IAVA expresses our profound appreciation to Reps. Conor Lamb and Neal Dunn for being so responsive to our nation's health needs during this pandemic," said Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) CEO Jeremy Butler. "Veterans who gained critical medical skills in the military are an under-tapped source, and we need to get them into the fight and help alleviate medical staffing shortfalls across the country. The bipartisan SERVE Act is something all Members of Congress should be able to get behind and pass this year to address the continuing crisis."
"As National Director of UWUA Veterans Affairs and Committee Chairman for AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council WorkForce Development Committee, I applaud Representative Lamb and Representative Dunn for their collective support to our transitioning service members and their families as well as to our nation's veterans. The COVID-19 pandemic has created layers of challenges for those who have honorably served this great country. Fast tracking their service-related skill sets and experiences is a critical tool for those in transition and an obligation we as industry partners need to support," said Richard Passarelli UWUA National Director of Veterans Affairs, AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council Workforce Development Committee Chairman.
“There are hundreds of thousands of military veterans with extensive training and experience in emergency medicine but no way to leverage their skills in a time of crisis,” said Jake Wood, CEO of Team Rubicon. “The SERVE Act creates a pathway to allow these men and women to continue their service in times of need.”
Click here to learn more about the SERVE Act.