TUBERVILLE: Congress Needs to Keep Veterans Front of Mind as we Return from July 4th

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) yesterday spoke on the Senate floor in honor of our nation’s service members – past and present – and underscored the importance of working on solutions to improve veterans’ access to quality of care. Sen. Tuberville recently introduced the HBOT Access Act, to permit Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) as a treatment option for veterans determined to be at high-risk of suicide or self-harm.

Excerpts from Sen. Tuberville’s remarks can be found below, and the full speech can be viewed here.

“That American idea lives on, two and a half centuries later, thanks to generations of men and women who, like many before them, put on the uniform to defend this great country.”

“Many gave their lives – the ultimate sacrifice – to defend the United States. But many more are still with us, and future generations will continue to volunteer to protect the freedoms and liberties this country affords us every day.”

“Today we’ve got almost 20 million veterans in the United States. 400,000 of them call Alabama home.”

“Taking care of our veterans is personal for me. My dad served in World War II and died on active duty after the war.”

“I’m honored to be a member of the Senate’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee, where we can hear about the problems facing our veterans firsthand, and work together on commonsense solutions.”

“The biggest challenge our veterans face is the access to quality care.”

“A solution to help address that problem is the GHAPS Act (Guaranteeing Healthcare Access to all Personnel who Served) – introduced by my friend and [the] committee’s ranking member, Senator Moran.”

“The GHAPS Act would identify persistent gaps that veterans face, and would help craft innovative solutions to make certain all veterans receive quality and timely care – especially our veterans living in rural areas.”

“The bill would also direct the VA to create a telehealth strategic plan so that we can use modern methods to improve access to care.”

“I’m proud to co-sponsor that legislation and will be working with Ranking Member Moran to get this bill passed.”

“We also need to do more to address the scourge of veteran suicide. It’s absolutely tragic that more than 18 veterans take their own life every day.”

“At the same time, we must do more to make additional treatments available to veterans who haven’t had access to being treating for traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder.”

“My bill [The HBOT Access Act] would permit HBOT as a treatment option for those veterans who have tried other evidence-based treatment options for TBI and PTSD — but have not seen substantial improvements.”

“I’ve heard from veterans and veterans service organizations who point to HBOT as a treatment that’s produced positive results for individuals suffering from severe head and brain injuries.”

“Many former football players –including ones who played for me — found success with HBOT in treating their head injuries.”

“If veterans are saying they have improved after using HBOT, and if veterans services organizations have seen similar success, I say we listen to them.”

“We should not leave quality options on the table while the veteran suicide crisis worsens.”

“I want to thank my colleagues, Senators Hoeven and Cramer, as well as the American Legion and Patriot Angels, for supporting this important legislation.”

“Finally, we need to improve resources for veterans to find jobs after their service in the military.”

“Too many face unnecessary hurdles in rejoining civilian life. They have some of the best skills you can ask for. Yet sometimes our veterans, like so many others, can fall prey to addiction, homelessness, or just flat out down on their luck.”

“Thankfully we’ve got quality organizations that are doing good work helping veterans in need.”

“One of those organizations is Three Hots and a Cot, based in Clay, Alabama. Three Hots is a small non-profit founded by veterans, for veterans.”

“Three Hots offers temporary assisted housing to 18 veterans at a time. They’ll drive the veterans to healthcare appointments at the VA, the grocery store, job interviews, and church, until they can get back on their feet.”

“And the job doesn’t stop once the veterans are settled in an apartment on their own. Three Hots will help with the transition by doing tasks like stocking their pantry and getting them furniture, and check in on them regularly.”

“In their ten years of operation, Three Hots has helped more than 1,600 veterans and family members, with an 83 percent success rate.”

“Our service men and women risk everything by joining the military. The least we can do is to repay their service and sacrifice by taking care of them when they return home to the country they gave so much to defend.”

“That’s what I’ll be doing on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and throughout my time in the Senate.”

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.