WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), along with Senators Angus King (I-ME), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced legislation to help improve veterans’ health care by increasing collaboration among federal agencies and authorizing the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop technologies that solve complex data challenges.
“The VA and DOE have a good partnership when it comes to research and development; and, with the bipartisan Department of Energy Veterans’ Health Initiative Act, we will see greater collaboration between the two agencies to solve complex data challenges and advance veterans’ health care,” said Senator Ernst.
“America’s veterans have made immense sacrifices for our nation. Through their service they have earned not only our eternal gratitude, but also the best support that we can possibly provide,” said Senator King. “In order to live up to our duty, we must strive to improve the care they receive, taking steps like utilizing cutting-edge technology and increasing communication between government agencies. By improving our overall knowledge of the healthcare challenges facing our veterans, we can improve the quality of care they receive.”
“This legislation will help provide world class care to our veterans by leveraging cutting-edge technologies at our National Labs,” said Senator Gardner. “The Department of Veterans Affairs and our National Labs are already collaborating successfully to benefit our veterans and I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort with my colleagues to make sure this work continues.”
“We need to do everything we can to improve health care for our veterans. This is a great example of how our Department of Energy national laboratories like Los Alamos and Sandia can put their high performing computing capabilities to practical use solving complex, big data challenges. I’m hopeful that by using the national labs’ advanced data analytics, this innovative program will identify patterns in the VA’s data and help improve outcomes for significant veterans’ health care challenges like suicide prevention,” said Senator Heinrich.
The Department of Energy Veterans’ Health Initiative Act is a companion bill to H.R. 6398 which passed the House unanimously on September 25, 2018. This legislation will build on the current interagency collaborative efforts—like the Million Veterans Program Computational Health Analytics of Medical Precision to Improve Outcomes initiative—by authorizing a program within the DOE to develop technologies to help solve complex data challenges by analyzing data sets from federal agencies, higher education institutions, non-profits and the private industry. In addition, this bill authorizes a DOE research program to spur development to accommodate for large data sets.
The full legislation is available here.