Peace Corps health

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Join events around the country in March to support the Peace Corps! see more

    National Peace Corps Association's (NPCA) March 1st Capitol Hill Day of Action to support a stronger and better Peace Corps is booked to capacity!

    But that's not all that is happening. Not even close.

    Our National Days of Action (that's right, days) is designed for all Peace Corps supporters to come together at a key moment on the calendar to: 

    • Make sure Peace Corps gets strong funding in the current (FY 2018) budget, as we also kick-off critical mobilization for FY 2019 Peace Corps and international affairs funding.
    • Make sure the best possible Peace Corps health and safety legislation passes in this 115th Congress by year's end.

    Get Ready to Take Action!

    If you don't do anything else for the rest of the year, now is the time to show your support for the Peace Corps. There are many ways to join the mobilization.

    • Right Now: Plan to Attend/Organize a Local Days of Action Event: Letter writing in Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Antonio and Honolulu. Meetings with lawmakers at their district offices in Buffalo, Jacksonville, Tuscaloosa and Kansas City. Visit our events page today to connect with a Days of Action activity in your area. Contact us if you want to organize an event in your area, or participate in Days of Action prep webinars in the coming days.
    • March 1st: As nearly 200 advocates and other supporters converge on Capitol Hill, back them up! Plan to visit our website to email or call your lawmakers urging positive action on the Peace Corps.
    • Ongoing: Our success requires your support! Make a donation of any amount to support NPCA's advocacy program.

    And, Updated State Resources!

    Has your Senator signed past Peace Corps funding letters? Is your Congressman/woman a co-sponsor of Peace Corps health/safety legislation? And, how many Peace Corps volunteers have served from your state since 1961? All of that information - and much, much more - can be found in our updated state resources!

     

  • Jonathan Pearson posted an article
    Both chambers of Congress now have Peace Corps health legislation see more

    On the day in which fallen Peace Corps volunteer Nick Castle would have celebrated his 28th birthday, legislation has been introduced in the United States Senate to address a series of issues related to the health and safety of Volunteers.

    The Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act of 2018 (S. 2286) was introduced Wednesday, January 10th by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Other lead sponsors include Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chris Coons (D-DE).

    Nick Castle died while serving in China in 2013. A November 2014 report on the death by the Peace Corps Office of Inspector General cited poor judgement and misdiagnosis by the Peace Corps Medical Officer, as well as "cascading failures and delays in treatment."

     

    About the Legislation

    Provisions in the Corker legislation would ensure that "the Peace Corps maintains well-qualified and capable medical officers and support staff for overseas Peace Corps posts and that the Director reviews and evaluates the performance of such staff and implements outstanding recommendations by the Inspector General to improve associated systems and programs."

    Another key provision would allow Peace Corps to be fully involved in the diagnosis, treatment and support of returning Volunteers with service related illness or injuries for a four-month period following their completion of service. Currently, volunteers who come home with service-related health issues are swiftly referred to the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) for benefits provided under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA).

    Along with requiring public disclosure of volunteer satisfaction surveys and other reporting requirements, the legislation would also promote further reforms and extend key initiatives pertaining to sexual assault and other acts of violence against volunteers. This includes a re-authorization of the Peace Corps Office of Victim Advocacy and the agency's Sexual Assault Advisory Council. 

    Click here for a copy of the legislation.

    Click here for Senator Corker's press release.

     

    House Legislation

    Meanwhile, Peace Corps health legislation in the House of Representatives (H.R. 2259) introduced last May by Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) and returned Peace Corps Volunteer Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA) has a bi-partisan list of nearly 50 co-sponsors.

    Along with the most provisions outlined above, the House legislation also includes an important proposal for volunteers who served their country but came home with service-related injuries or illness that rendered them temporarily or permanently disabled. The legislation proposes raising the worker's compensation payments for these individuals. This has been a priority issue of the affiliate group Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers, which has led efforts and worked tirelessly for years on efforts to provide relief for those in our community who struggle most in the aftermath of their service. However, questions have arisen about the ability to sustain this provision in accordance with House rules on entitlement spending.

     

    Forward Motion

    "While the content and presentation of the Senate and House Peace Corps health bills have significant differences, we are grateful that Senator Corker, Congressman Poe and other lead sponsors have introduced legislation to keep us moving forward," said NPCA President and CEO Glenn Blumhorst. "Taken together, both bills contain improvements, reforms and re-authorizations that are important to various members of our community. We look forward to continued progress with Senate and House sponsors, and urge them to work collaboratively so we can come away with the best possible legislation to support our Volunteers and respect their sacrifices in serving our country."

     

    Take Action

    Call your Senators and ask them to support and advance S. 2286, Peace Corps health legislation introduced by Senator Corker.

    If your Congressman/woman has not yet co-sponsored H.R. 2259, take action here.