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“If a close look at this pilot program shows that veterans are healthier when they use fitness monitors, it’s worth considering whether these efforts can be expanded through Medicare or private insurance. These fitness trackers may be a simple way to improve health care and lower costs for many Americans.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today introduced a bill to determine whether a pilot program through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is delivering high-quality care to veterans by using wearable fitness monitors and whether the program should be expanded.

“Our veterans deserve incredible care, and I want to make sure they’re getting it. If a close look at this pilot program shows that veterans are healthier when they use fitness monitors, it’s worth considering whether these efforts can be expanded through Medicare or private insurance. These fitness trackers may be a simple way to improve health care and lower costs for many Americans,” said Kennedy.

The VA has operated a pilot program, VETERANS (Veteran Engagement Through Electronic Resources and Notifications Study), that provides Garmin and Apple Watches, FitBits or other wearable technology to veterans who have recently undergone surgery related to atrial fibrillation. The program also includes patients enrolled in weight management, cardiac rehabilitation and other programs. The devices help veterans monitor their heart rates and better track their overall health in coordination with the VA.

Because the program was not established through legislation, there is currently no report requirement related to the pilot program. This bill would require the Secretary of the VA to provide a report by the end of fiscal year 2022 on the pilot program’s findings to determine whether it is effective and whether the program could potentially be implemented through the Medicare system or other health care providers. 

The bill text is available here.

“I’ve worked to ensure the disaster relief fund gets the increase needed to take care of people hurt by storms and people struggling under the coronavirus pandemic. Between the $17 billion infusion to the disaster relief fund and a full year’s extension for flood insurance, Louisianians can take heart that the resources they need are there for them.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after the Senate passed a funding bill that adds $17 billion to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster relief fund and extends the National Flood Insurance Program for a year.

“Louisiana is working hard to rebuild what Hurricane Laura ripped to shreds, and they shouldn’t have to worry about whether the rest of the country is going to show up to help them. I’ve worked to ensure the disaster relief fund gets the increase needed to take care of people hurt by storms and people struggling under the coronavirus pandemic. Between the $17 billion infusion to the disaster relief fund and a full year’s extension for flood insurance, Louisianians can take heart that the resources they need are there for them,” said Kennedy.

Earlier this month, Kennedy introduced the Hurricane Laura Recovery Funding Act to increase FEMA’s disaster relief fund, which funds the agency’s recovery efforts.

"While Louisiana’s marshlands provide a habitat to some of America’s most beautiful wildlife, they are also the first line of defense against damaging storms. Nutria have already destroyed thousands of acres of wetland along our coast, putting Louisianians and our ecosystems at greater risk. I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate for passing this bipartisan bill. Now, I hope it quickly becomes law to save communities from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean from these destructive swamp rats."

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement after meeting today with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, nominated by President Donald Trump to join the U.S. Supreme Court:

“Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an impressive, thoughtful jurist with great respect for the Constitution. I’m thankful for the opportunity to speak with Judge Barrett today, and I look forward to hearing from her in the approaching committee hearings.”

“Louisiana’s health care providers were forced to take drastic measures to care for coronavirus patients, and these FEMA grants will help reimburse health centers in Baton Rouge and New Orleans for their efforts to control the virus.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $33,415,161 in FEMA grant funding to help health care providers respond to the coronavirus outbreak in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

“Louisiana’s health care providers were forced to take drastic measures to care for coronavirus patients, and these FEMA grants will help reimburse health centers in Baton Rouge and New Orleans for their efforts to control the virus,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $21,293,595 to the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System for staff training, facility disinfection, communications, medical equipment, security, overtime labor and facility expansion.

  • $12,121,566 to the Ochsner Clinic Foundation for medical equipment, supplies and building modifications.

 

“Hurricane Laura devastated communities across Louisiana, and this funding will support critical workforce development programs to bolster local economies in New Orleans, Lake Charles and Monroe.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $3,162,713 in grant funding from the Department of Labor to support workforce development efforts in New Orleans, Lake Charles and Monroe.

“Hurricane Laura devastated communities across Louisiana, and this funding will support critical workforce development programs to bolster local economies in New Orleans, Lake Charles and Monroe,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include $1,458,203 to McNeese State University, $1,074,510 to the University of Louisiana at Monroe and $630,000 to NextOp, Inc.

 

“The coronavirus pandemic has challenged many of our state’s businesses, leaving too many Louisianians without jobs. This grant will create crucial opportunities for those who lost their jobs in the wake of the coronavirus.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced a $16,767,303 dislocated worker grant from the Department of Labor to help the Louisiana Workforce Commission respond to workforce-related impacts of the coronavirus.

“The coronavirus pandemic has challenged many of our state’s businesses, leaving too many Louisianians without jobs. This grant will create crucial opportunities for those who lost their jobs in the wake of the coronavirus,” said Kennedy.

These funds may be used to provide employment opportunities and training activities to eligible residents affected by mass layoffs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Louisiana is still working to mitigate the impact of coronavirus, and these grants will support key health projects to protect communities across our state.”

MADISONVILLE, La. – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $7,556,433 in grant funding from the Department of Health and Human Services to support health projects in New Orleans, Lafayette and Shreveport.

“Louisiana is still working to mitigate the impact of coronavirus, and these grants will support key health projects to protect communities across our state,” said Kennedy.

Projects supported by this funding include:

  • $3,743,182 to Tulane University to support a coronavirus antibody and immunity network.

  • $2,718,813 to the National Network of Public Health Institutes to improve the strategic capacity of public health systems.

  • $875,438 to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to study virus replication.

  • $219,000 to the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport to support genetic analysis.

MADISONVILLE, La.—Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released the following statement upon President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, a Louisiana native, to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“President Trump has nominated an impressive jurist in Judge Barrett, who has real-world experience in the classroom and in the courtroom.

"One of the most sacred jobs Louisianians sent me to do is to vet nominees for lifetime appointments to the highest court in the land. I will join my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee in doing just that—fairly and thoroughly.

“I look forward to hearing from Judge Barrett in the coming days.”

“No one knows better than a Louisianian how to prepare for natural disasters, and this bill will make it easier for our small businesses to prevent loss. Too often, hardworking Americans are forced to weather storms first and federal bureaucracy second. I’m thankful to work with Sen. Rubio and colleagues to pass the PREPARE Act before another category four hurricane batters our state.”

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Angus King (I-Maine) in introducing their Providing Resources for Emergency Preparedness and Resilient Enterprises (PREPARE) Act.

The bill would reauthorize the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Pre-Disaster Mitigation Pilot Program to give small businesses the opportunity to take out low-interest loans to proactively implement mitigation measures to protect their property from future disaster-related damage. Additional cosponsors include Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).

“No one knows better than a Louisianian how to prepare for natural disasters, and this bill will make it easier for our small businesses to prevent loss. Too often, hardworking Americans are forced to weather storms first and federal bureaucracy second. I’m thankful to work with Sen. Rubio and colleagues to pass the PREPARE Act before another category four hurricane batters our state,” said Kennedy.

“The PREPARE Act would allow small businesses the opportunity to invest in mitigation before a disaster strikes. Investing in disaster mitigation on the front end saves business’, as well as taxpayers’, dollars, while reducing potential risks to property. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would improve the SBA’s previous program and allow businesses to be more prepared and more resilient in the future,” said Rubio.

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season has been so active that the National Hurricane Center has already exhausted the list of storm names. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency statistics, approximately 50 percent of small businesses close indefinitely following a disaster, and every $1 spent on mitigation saves taxpayers $6. 

The PREPARE Act:

  • Creates an updated Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program for small businesses to proactively take out a low-interest loan (up to $500,000) in order to implement mitigation measures to protect their property from future disaster-related damage.
  • Authorizes $25 million annually (FY2021 to FY2025).
  • Tasks SBA with establishing and carrying out an advertising and outreach program related to pre-disaster mitigation.
  • Tasks SBA with issuing guidance to ensure borrowers purchase and maintain insurance coverage over the duration of the loan.
  • Requires SBA to conduct initial reporting and a program evaluation annually thereafter.
  • Increases, from 20 to 30 percent, the limit on existing SBA Physical Business Disaster Loans a borrower may use towards post-disaster mitigation.