The Health Law Section's Military and Veterans Health Law Interest Group is designed to lead and implement educational programming focused on protecting the legal rights of our service personnel, veterans, and their families. It seeks to provide training for attorneys counseling current and retired military regarding the legal issues related to their health care.

Membership in the Interest Group is free to all Health Law Section members. If you're interested in joining, please click here or contact Carol Simmons, Associate Director, at carol.simmons@americanbar.org.

In November of 2015, the Health Law Section established the Military & Veterans Health Law Interest Group to address the unique health law issues pertaining to active military and veterans. Since its inception, the task force has collaborated with the ABA’s Military Pro Bono Center and the ABA Veterans' Claims Assistance Network (VCAN) to provide legal assistance in eight areas of Civil Law. 

The Military & Veterans Health Law Interest Group futher serves as a resource to Law School Veterans Clinics by providing a mechanism for sharing best practices, recent trends, proposed and new regulations and agency mandates, documents, policies, protocols and forms, implementation of laws and regulations, and content expertise.

Veterans Health Administration Scandal
The VA scandle of 2014 brought a lot of attention to the systemic problems within the VA. However, years later the question remains as to whether those same issues still exist. The VA released its Quality of Care ratings for hospitals at the end of fiscal year 2017, and while those numbers claim improvement at 64% of hospitals over the past year, many of the worst hospitals remain low on the list. Read more

Meanwhile, a recent report from doctors and nurses within a VA facility in Oregon claims that the VA Hospital Ratings actually hurt veterans. They believe that the hospitals look to limit the number of patients admitted to lift quality of care ratings as fewer patients means fewer chances for bad outcomes. This means administrators cherry-pick cases against the decisions of doctors and nurses. So even though the outrage has died down and the VA claims improvement in the system, it is clear that major issues still exist. Read more

Veteran Defense Fund
Interest Group Vice Chair Paul Freese presented Brockton Hunter's remarkable tome on the link between combat PTS, TBI, and misconduct that leads to criminalization. The veterans defense project helps military and combat veterans charged with criminal offenses relating to post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, TBI, substance-abuse.

DoD Releasing Clarifying Guidance to Veterans Regarding Discharges and Military Records
Over the past few years, DoD has issued guidance for consideration of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) but there remained some questions about how the guidance applied to sexual assault, sexual harassment, or mental health conditions other than PTSD.
Read more

VA Attempts to Shift Resources From HUD-VASH Housing Program
Meeting with heavy criticism, VA Secretary Shulkin remains determined to shift priorities this year with a proposed reallocate up to 5% of the VA’s budget towards the issues of suicide prevention, modernization, and resources for veterans to pursue care outside the VA health system. Since the inception of the HUD-VASH program, veteran homelessness has dropped 45%.  Click here for an Update

University of Miami Health Rights Clinic
The University of Miami Health Rights Clinic is planning to conduct observations and analysis at the Miami-Dade Veteran Treatment Court (VTC) to get an in-depth look at the policies and procedures being followed and compare those practices with other courts across the country and ultimately help determine best practices for the relatively new concept of veteran courts. By looking at the specific procedures and determining what is successful and what is not, the Clinic hopes their findings will result in the creation of a more standardized model that can be readily duplicated in other communities.

Healthcare Options for America's Veterans
Veterans have choices when it comes to their healthcare. Many assume that all veterans receive their care through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) hospitals and clinics, but less than half of the country's approximately 22 million veterans receive VA healthcare.
ABA Health eSource, March 2018 (Vol. 14 No. 7)
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Data Sharing and the Transformation of Veterans’ Healthcare: Opportunities and Challenges in Interoperability
The promise of interoperability has encouraged significant cooperation among private industry and providers, the VA, DoD, and other federal agencies. These steps have enhanced data integration, but large goals remain unfulfilled.
The Health Lawyer (Volume 30, #3, February 2018, Page 30)
Read more

Serving our Veterans
The articles in this issue of The Judges’ Journal consider the U.S. justice system’s obligations to those who have sacrificed so much for our country and offer practical ways to connect veterans with the legal services they are entitled to. Veterans often face legal problems while they are away serving or after they return home; the tools provided here can help judges protect the rights of our veterans.
The Judges Journal (Winter 2017 / Volume 56 / #1)
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My Veteran
I introduce you to my grandfather, Allen G. Monroe, pictured here in his WWI uniform. Pawpe, as he was affectionately known to his eight grandchildren, taught us many life lessons that he was quite sure we were not being taught in school ...
ABA eSource (November 2017 Vol. 13 #3)
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ABA House of Delegates Adopts Resolution to Allow Due Process for Correcting Military Records of Veterans
August 2017 -- ABA Annual Meeting
Read more

Military-Related FMLA Provisions for the Citizen-Soldier
Governmental or human resources attorneys at times are consulted on personnel matters concerning public and private sector employees who also serve in the military reserve or National Guard. Of particular import for this reserve-component sector of the workforce is the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)  ...
ABA Health eSource (January 2017 Vol. 13 #5)
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In Flanders Fields
A poem written by World War I Colonel John McCrae, a surgeon with Canada's First Brigade Artillery. It expressed McCrae's grief over the "row on row" of graves of soldiers who had died on Flanders' battlefields ...Read more

ABA Veterans' Claims Assistance Network

ABA Military Pro Bono Project

ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel

Lawyers for Warriors: Hampton Roads

Veterans Defense Project

The ABA Health Law Section’s Military & Veterans Health Law Interest Group, its leaders, Advisory Board, Members, Friends and Associates honor and celebrate those who are willing to put their lives on the line for millions of Americans through their service in our armed forces. We are grateful to each one of you.

During the past year, we have put those words into action, participating as speakers in symposia, presenting conferences, webinars, and attending both Military and Veterans events across the country. Our Membership is fully engaged in this cause, including our law students, in the Law School Consortium. An important goal for the Leaders has obviously been to create awareness of Military & Veterans Health Law.

In addition to the live in-person programming, the Military and Veterans Health Law Interest Group also provides periodic 90-minute webinars. These session focus on topics designed to bring our military pro bono training efforts to a greater audience.

Recorded webinars currently available include:

What are Medical-Legal Partnerships and How Can I Get Involved?
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
View the Slides / Listen to the Recording
Learn what is a medical-legal partnership ("MLP") entails and what do they do. Real world examples of MLPs and and a discussion of how they were established will be examined.

Assisting Veterans with Legal Matters, V.A. Certification, Part 2
Friday, December 16, 2016
View the Slides / Listen to the Recording

Your gift will support the ABA Health Law Section’s commitment to public service and educational programs designed to encourage and support attorney pro bono activities in their communities. Your generous contribution will provide attorney training and education on a wide range of legal issues related to diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

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