Sidney Herald: Senate unanimously passes bill to improve veterans’ access to breast cancer screening and care
The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed bipartisan, bicameral legislation introduced by Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.), U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) to expand veterans’ access to high-quality breast cancer screening and lifesaving cancer care. This legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The Senators’ Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to develop a strategic plan to improve breast imaging services, create a telemammography pilot program for veterans in areas where VA does not offer in-house mammography, and expand veterans’ access to clinical trials through partnerships with the National Cancer Institute.
“The Senate took an important step this week to ensure every veteran has access to high-quality breast cancer screening and care-no matter where they live,” said Chairman Tester. “Our bipartisan MAMMO for Veterans Act will improve women veterans’ access to breast cancer screening and treatment, lead to earlier detection of cancers, and save more lives. We’ve got to keep delivering veterans the tools they need to fight breast cancer, and I encourage my House colleagues to pass this bill without any delay.”
“Modernizing the VA’s policies to better serve the growing population of women veterans is critical to upholding our promise to our servicemembers,” said Senator Boozman. “Expanding access to screenings, care and clinical trials through partnerships with the National Cancer Institute will help us provide life-saving prevention and treatment to veterans who are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Taking full advantage of the VA’s unique capabilities and resources will help veterans get the best care available. I’m pleased the Senate has taken this important step and I urge my colleagues in the House of Representatives to follow our example and quickly approve this legislation so it can be signed into law.”
“We have a duty to provide our veterans the care and treatment they need to stay safe and healthy after serving our country,” said Senator Hirono. “As the share of veterans who are women continues to rise, fulfilling that duty means strengthening the VA’s ability to identify, treat, and defeat breast cancer. The MAMMO for Veterans Act takes important steps toward that goal by increasing access to testing for individuals in rural areas, making upgrades to VA’s infrastructure, and fundamentally changing the Department’s approach to breast cancer testing and treatment. I’m pleased that this bill is one step closer to becoming law.”
“We owe it to our veterans to provide them with the high-quality health care they have earned through their service to our country,” said Senator Collins. “I am pleased that the Senate has passed this important bill, which would improve breast cancer detection and prevention services at the VA, helping to better support those affected by this devastating disease and promote the health and well-being of our veterans.”
Numerous Veterans Service Organizations praised the lawmakers’ efforts to improve and expand veterans’ access to critical breast cancer screening and treatment.
“The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) applauds the United States Senate for passing Senators Tester, Boozman, Hirono and Collins’ legislation to improve veterans’ access to high-quality mammography and breast cancer care, specifically for veterans in rural communities,” said National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Chief Executive Officer Alan Morgan. “The Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act will improve access to screening, care, and treatment for rural veterans by allowing for care partnerships to be created via telehealth. NRHA urges the House of Representatives to quickly pass this important legislation. Veterans’ are the backbone of rural America, and ensuring their wellbeing and access to critical services like mammography and breast cancer care is essential.”