September 11, 2015
MOAA and the Wounded Warrior Project
co-hosted the 9th annual Warrior-Family Symposium on September 9.
This year’s theme, “Our Nation’s
Military: Caring for Our Own,” focused on government and non-government solutions
to improve the mental wellness of servicemembers, veterans, their families and
The morning panel discussed how the
government has moved the needle forward in improving the well-being and care
for our military, veterans, their families and caregivers on issues like mental-behavioral
health, suicide, sexual trauma, and substance abuse.
Although the government has come a
long way in improving care for veterans and their families, panelists discussed
challenges with program awareness and accessibility.
The afternoon panel provided a
five-year outlook on mental health care needs.
Keynote speaker Sen. Johnny Isakson
(R-Ga.), Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, said, “When it comes to
veterans’ health care, there are no excuses.”
Although Sen. Isakson noted the
progress made by the VA, he stressed the need for continued improvement and
Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald
also attended the event, and talked about the progress made by the VA over the
last few years, as well as the remaining challenges the department faces.
The VA has reduced the backlog dramatically and cut decision times.
Wait times for appointments have gone down, and claim decision accuracy has
McDonald said that although there
has been considerable improvement, the department still has a long way to go.
He worries that Congress will see the improvements and cut the necessary
funding needed to close the remaining gaps.
“We tend to be a shortsighted government,”
For videos of speakers and panels,
please visit MOAA’s website.