Bipartisan Collins bill would advance VA mammography options

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) recently proposed bipartisan legislation that would improve mammography services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“By improving breast cancer detection and prevention services at the VA,” Sen. Collins said last week, “our bipartisan bill would better support those affected by this devastating disease and promote the health and well-being of our veterans.”

Sen. Collins on July 29 cosponsored the Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act, S. 2533, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT). The legislation would require the VA to develop a strategic plan to improve breast imaging services, create a telemammography pilot program for United States military veterans in areas where the VA does not offer in-house mammography, and expand veterans’ access to clinical trials through partnerships with the National Cancer Institute, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Collins’ office.

If enacted, S. 2533 also would require the VA to upgrade all in-house breast imaging to 3D mammography, the summary says, and would direct the VA to expand partnerships for clinical trials and research on breast cancer care and emphasize improving access to care for women veterans, rural veterans and disabled and paralyzed veterans.

“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 Sen. Collins. 

Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National Legislative Director Joy Ilem supports the bill, which she said “will ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs has a plan for making high-quality, potentially life-saving breast imaging services more accessible to women veterans.”