The official blog of American Veteran Magazine, the national quarterly publication of AMVETS.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

White House announces unified electronic health records for all service members

President Obama, alongside VA Secretary Erik Shinseki and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, announced a new unified electronic health and service record system for all service members during a press conference at the White House this afternoon. AMVETS and leaders from the nation's top veterans' service organizations were on hand for the landmark announcement.

AMVETS and the veterans' community applauded the Administration's decision to implement a new electronic system, which will help close the gap in care many veterans experience between leaving the military and entering the VA health system.

The President said that the records would follow troops throughout their lives from the moment they enter service in the U.S. military and into the VA system.

AMVETS Legislative Director Ray Kelley said AMVETS has been calling for a unified health record for DoD and VA for more than a decade.

"Historically, the onus for enrolling the VA system has fallen on the service member one they come off active duty," Kelley said. "Now, troops' medical records will automatically make it into the VA, ensuring the most times and sufficient health care for all veterans."

The President, who returned from a surprise visit to Iraq yesterday afternoon, also praised America's service members for their sacrifices and promised to deliver "the care they were promised and the benefits they deserve."

Obama also addressed the issues of homelessness, education and mental health during his press conference, saying that the proposed VA budget will include new programs to help alleviate the transitional stressors on many of our nation's vets.

As these stories develop, check in with American Veteran Online for more details. And as always, please let us know what you think.

To read President Obama's remarks, Click Here.

(Video: White House video of President Obama's speech introducing the new e-records for military service. Video is part of the public domain.)

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