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More than 12-hundred missing in the California wildfires. Also on the Monday rundown: a pair of reports on gun violence in the nation; plus concerns that proposed Green-Card rules favor the wealthy.

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Sen. Heller Targets Better Care for Veterans in Rural Nevada

PHOTO: Veterans in rural Nevada may gain better access to VA services if a new bill co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Dean Heller makes its way through Congress. Photo courtesy: Sen. Heller's office.
PHOTO: Veterans in rural Nevada may gain better access to VA services if a new bill co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Dean Heller makes its way through Congress. Photo courtesy: Sen. Heller's office.
February 13, 2014

RENO, Nev. – U.S. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada is co-sponsoring a bill that aims to improve access to VA health services for military veterans living in rural areas.

According to Heller, the Rural Veterans Improvement Act would benefit the estimated 6 million veterans who live in rural communities, partly by improving their transportation options to VA facilities in urban areas.

Dr. Richard Small, chairman of the Nevada Veterans Foundation, says getting to the hospital is a major challenge for many vets.

"They are required to drive long distances and often have limited resources,” he explains. “So that puts a strain not only on the vehicle but on their financial resources to get to the hospital."

There are reports of some veterans having to drive for several hours or more to get to a VA hospital.

The bill prioritizes improving rural VA facilities, and working in some areas with non-VA providers.

Heller says the bill also puts more focus on hiring and retaining employees at rural health care facilities, and beefing up mental health resources for vets.

Small adds many of today's vets need help to deal with the emotional battle scars left from service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Most everyone who's been through prolonged traumatic experiences such as the Vietnam War, and these recent modern wars, are suffering from the agony that goes with PTSD," he stresses.

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

The Rural Veterans Improvement Act is co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico.


Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV