Happy July 4th

July 4, 2009
July 4, 2009


Happy Fourth ofJuly! As you celebrate with your family and friends, I want us all toremember our veterans, the men and women who served our country andfought for our independence. And equally important, we honor those menand women who continue to fight for our freedom around the world today.

On Wednesday July1st, I had the honor to celebrate the groundbreaking for the criticallyimportant Inpatient Mental Health Center at the VA in Palo Alto. Thestaff of VA Palo Alto is second-to-none and the work done at thisfacility for our veterans is work of service, dedication, and honor.The VA Palo Alto serves our veterans after they have served our countryand they truly "put veterans first."

In Palo Alto we'refortunate to have one of the four Polytrauma Centers in the country,along with a National Center for PTSD and residential programs for menand women who suffer PTSD. In addition, VA as a whole has increased itsMental Health practitioners by 3,800 bringing the total to 17,000 -making VA the largest provider of mental health services in the entirenation.

During the past twoyears, Congress has accomplished a tremendous amount for our veterans.We have voted for historic increases in veterans' health care andbenefits programs, totaling nearly $12 billion to meet the needs ofreturning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. The importance ofhealthcare for our veterans cannot be overstated, especially with somany of our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans serving two or moredeployments.

Just last week, I voted for and the House passed two extremely important bills for our veterans. The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Actauthorizes Congress to approve investments in Department of VeteransAffairs medical care one year in advance to provide time for the VA toplan how to deliver the best care to an increasing number of veteranswith increasingly complex medical conditions.

We also passed, The Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Actwhich will expand and improve VA health care services for the 1.8million women who have bravely served their country. This bill callsfor the enhancement of PTSD treatment for women, the study of barriersto women veterans seeking healthcare, and medical care for newbornchildren of women veterans. Both bills have been sent to the Senate andI'm eager to see them passed and then signed into law by PresidentObama.

As Congress focuseson repaying our veterans, I was thrilled to participate in thegroundbreaking for this new facility. The VA's new Inpatient MentalHealth Center is an extraordinary building that includes designelements meant to aide in the healing process. Therapeutic colors andtextural palettes have been selected by clinicians. Patients will beable to walk through landscaped gardens and enjoy the natural lightshining through almost all areas of the building, signaling a new dayfor our veterans.

This is not justanother building. It is a health center and a place of healing for ourveterans who have put our country first. It demonstrates our unendinggratitude for their brave service and is just one more step tofulfilling our mental health obligation to our nation's veterans.

I will continue towork hard in Congress for each and every one of you. As always, I relyon and value your thoughts and ideas on the issues you care about, soplease let me hear from you. Visit my website at eshoo.house.gov to send me an email.


Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress