In observance of Veterans Day, Secretary of Health & Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, issued a Statement on Friday, in which she said, “This Veterans Day, we honor all those who have served in our nation’s armed forces and are grateful for their service and dedication to our country. But we do more than honor them.”
“The Obama administration and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are committed to the men and women who have served our nation and are helping to ensure that they lead fulfilling lives at home,” Secretary Sebelius stated.
In her Statement, Secretary Sebelius went on to list a number of concrete programs that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and other government agencies are providing to help returning veterans, including:
- Expanding job opportunities for Veterans in the Health Care Field. HHS is partnering with the Departments of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs to fast-track veteran medics into jobs in the health care field, the HHS Secretary announced. This includes providing expanded opportunities for veterans to train as physician assistants and other positions with high demand in community health centers and other parts of the health care system, Secretary Sebelius said.
“Our veterans have shown their military medical training on the battlefield and they should be able to use their hard-earned experience to get good health care jobs,” Secretary Sebelius said.
The HHS Secretary further recognized the expressed gratitude to “the many veterans who continue to serve our nation as U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers and civilian employees of HHS, providing the critical services that so many Americans depend on every day.”
- Expanded Access to Behavioral Health Services. “We recognize the continuing need for veterans, active duty personnel, and members of the National Guard and Reserve to have access to behavioral health services,” Secretary Sebelius said. “A new program, made possible by the Affordable Care Act, will boost the number of graduate level social workers and doctoral-trained psychologists who work with rural, vulnerable and underserved populations, including veterans, military personnel, and their families,” she announced.
- Continued Access to Crisis Counseling for Veterans. “HHS partners with Veterans Affairs to ensure that veterans in emotional crisis have free access to qualified, caring VA counselors,” the HHS Secretary’s Statement said. “The Veterans Crisis Line is operational 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK/8255. Through this partnership, the VA has answered more than 687,000 calls since the line was launched in August 2007, with more than 24,500 emergency rescues of people who were at imminent risk of harming themselves.”
- Other Mental Health Programs in Support of Veterans & Military Families. For information on other ways in which HHS supports veterans and military families, Secretary Sebelius’ Veterans Day Statement refers to the website of SAMSA, a part of HHS.
- Medical and Long-Term Care Benefits for Veterans and their Families. Though not specifically referenced in Secretary Sebelius’ Veterans Day Statement, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Veterans Department) administers many pension, health and long-term care benefit programs for Veterans and their families and survivors. More information is available from the Veterans Department (VA.gov), and via links provided under “More Information” below.
“Ensuring support for all our veterans is a high priority for our department, and we remain committed to making a difference in the lives of veterans and their families,” HHS Secretary Sebelius’ Statement concludes.
Secretary Sebelius’ Veterans Day Statement appears in its entirety on the HHS Website.
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