Combat & Casualty Care

Q1 2017

Military Magazines in the United States and Canada, Covering Combat and Casualty Care, first responders, rescue and medical products programs and news\Tactical Defense Media

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Page 31 of 35

LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVE SEEKING ENHANCED VETERANS' CARE Combat & Casualty Care had the pleasure of speaking with Matt Cartwright, U.S. Representative from the 17th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, regarding recent bipartisan legislation entitled the Expedited Hiring for VA Trained Psychiatrists Act. Rep. Cartwright re-introduced the legislation to reduce wait times for veterans seeking mental health care by allowing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish a fast-track process for hiring psychiatrists. Interview conducted by C&CC Editor Kevin Hunter U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright was first sworn into Con- gress on January 3, 2013. During his time in the House of Repre- sentatives serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania and the eastern Lehigh Valley, Cartwright has stepped forward as a leader, having been elected class president in his first term and Regional Whip by his colleagues thereafter. Further, Cartwright has introduced over 60 pieces of legislation that aim to help seniors, military families, veterans, students, workers, consumers, the middle class, and the environment – the majority of which were introduced with bipartisan support. Cartwright serves on the House Commit- tee on Appropriations and the House Committee for Oversight and Government Reform. He serves on the Appropriations Subcommit- tee for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. Cartwright also serves on the House Steering and Policy Committee, which advises the House Democratic Leadership on policy and appoints other Democratic Members of Congress to House committees. Cartwright is a former member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. During his time in Congress, Cart- wright has introduced more bipartisan bills than any other House Democrat. Introduced measures have proposed expanded rights and benefits for Americans who deserve more favorable treatment under the law. Cartwright's legislative portfolio has also focused heavily on protecting the environment from exemptions and loopholes in fun- damental environmental protection statutes and promoting equity for wage-grade federal workers at federal installations such as VA hospitals, federal prisons, and military depots. Cartwright has been independently recognized as a leader in gaining cosponsorships and high-powered support within the House of Representatives for his bills. He has also been named a Moderate Democratic Leader in the House by a leading legislator ranking organization. Prior to coming to Congress, Cartwright worked as an attorney with Munley, Munley & Cartwright for 25 years. He spent his time at the firm fighting for the middle class and working families, and served as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice. Cartwright is a magna cum laude graduate of Hamilton Col- lege, where he earned Bachelor of Arts in History in 1983. He is a law review graduate of University of Pennsylvania's Law School, where he earned a Juris Doctorate in 1986. Cartwright is married to Marion Munley Cartwright and is the father of two sons, Jack and Matthew. The Cartwrights live in Moosic. C&CC: With lessons learned over the past 16 years of wartime engagement regarding symptoms and likely factors known to enable PTSD, what prompted you to put your belief in increased psychiatric treatment availability as a therapeutic course of action to address the condition? Rep. Cartwright: I believe that we owe our veterans a great debt, and I will always work to protect and expand their access to health care and other hard earned benefits. Since taking office I have worked hard to introduce legislation that benefits our nation's veterans and service members. PTSD is one of the signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The VA reports that 29% of the OEF/OIF veterans within its healthcare system have PTSD. An estimated 10% of Gulf War Veterans and about 30% of Vietnam Veterans also have PTSD. Despite systematic efforts to screen for PTSD and to encourage diagnosed veterans to seek treatment, concerns have been raised by VA clinicians that the VA does not have the resources to handle the growing number of veterans with mental health issues. The VA nearly doubled its mental health staffing between 2006 and 2010, yet testimony given before the Senate VA Committee indicated that the VA Rep. Matt Cartwright U.S. Representative 17th Congressional District of Pennsylvania (PA-17) 30 | Combat & Casualty Care | Spring 2017

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