WASHINGTON, DC – Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón together with Representative Connor Lamb (PA-17) presented the bipartite legislation Supporting the recognition of veterans’ education during emergencies or SERVE Act, for its acronym in English
This legislation will ensure that the knowledge and medical qualifications received by veterans during their military training are recognized and used by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and health facilities to combat the public health emergency due to COVID- 19.
Both congressmen reaffirmed this measure during this Congress in order to advance vaccination efforts.
“The race to vaccinate American citizens against COVID-19 has served as a reminder of how ill-prepared we were for this pandemic. There is no better group than our veterans to help us win the battle, ”Lamb said.
“Veterans have received the best training possible and are excited to contribute when they return to everyday life. This legislation removes obstacles to helping veterans serve our communities more efficiently, especially as we increase our efforts nationwide to defeat COVID-19. “
“The SERVE legislation seeks to capitalize on the skills and knowledge acquired by our veterans and use them to help our country in this time of national emergency. It has become clear that, during this pandemic, it is necessary to maximize every opportunity and resource available to combat this deadly virus. Like those I represent, I have hope for the future and for a return to normalcy. However, pandemics and other similar emergencies will always be an imminent threat and we must be prepared at all times. I am confident that this legislation puts us in a better position to respond to more emergencies in the future. I am proud to be an original co-author, along with my partner Representative Connor Lamb, and I look forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan way to achieve our goal, ”said González Colón.
The SERVE legislation is supported by the Veterans of America in Iraq and Afghanistan (IAVA), the AFL-CIO Veterans Union Council (UVC), and Team Rubicon.
These Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) cite the willingness of veterans to serve their communities again and have called on Congress to provide improvements to the current accreditation system to better recognize the medical talents of veterans. veterans.
To respond to this call, the SERVE legislation:
- Directs VA to identify veterans with previous occupations and specialties in the area of military medicine and provide documentation of medical training and experience via an electronic portal, allowing veterans to provide their contact information on a voluntary basis.
- It allows VA to share the information of such veterans and their medical experience with their respective state government, VSOs and organizations accredited by their state, to facilitate the accreditation process at the state level for qualified veterans.
- It permanently authorizes the Intermediate Care Technicians (ICT) program, which it is designing to employ formerly in the military for positions in veteran health centers.
- It requires a study on the possibility of replicating the ICT program for other military specialties in order to expand the routes for members of the armed forces in transition to the workforce.
“I applaud the bipartisan efforts of Representatives Lamb and González Colón in introducing this important legislation,” said Jeremy Butler, CEO, IAVA.
“The introduction of the SERVE Act is timely given the need for health professionals during this pandemic. There are hundreds of thousands of veterans with critical medical knowledge and experience. They are an unused resource and should not be put aside ”.
“Health professionals have been on the front lines of this pandemic for more than 14 months now and they need support. We have the opportunity to create a whole new workforce that is very excited to serve. There are hundreds of thousands of military veterans with extensive training in emergency medicine who do not have an avenue to use their talents in a time of crisis, ”said Jake Wood, CEO, Team Rubicon.
“As veterans, we are trained to serve and always ready to do battle when our country needs it. This legislation not only helps us provide expert staff to the COVID-19 vaccination mission, but also gives a sense of service and purpose to many of our national heroes, ”said Will Attig, Executive Director, Union Veterans Council , AFL-CIO.