Message from Mark Stevens on Memorial Day

To Honor and Support our Troops on Memorial Day, 5/31/10

The purpose of Memorial Day is to commemorate the brave men and women who have died in military service to our country. Though there will many parades, BBQs and speeches, there’s another patriotic way to honor our fallen veterans: support U.S. troops serving today. Perhaps the best way we can show our support for both reservists and active duty troops is to provide them with a market for their skills and experience, and a meaningful job to sustain themselves and their families when they are living civilian lives. An opportunity to provide this kind of support may be now available through healthcare information technology (HIT).

The federal stimulus package passed last year includes up to $30B in incentives for doctors to automate their practices by purchasing electronic medical records (which have been proven to reduce medical errors, increase the quality of healthcare and lower its cost). These incentives are projected to create 50,000 new jobs nationwide in HIT implementation and support. Why not set aside a portion of those jobs for returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, most of whom have received IT training while in the service? A similar initiative in the Midwest has achieved success in retraining unemployed auto industry IT workers for careers in healthcare. Why not vets? Pennsylvania has the largest National Guard contingent of any state, so PA vets would benefit greatly from such an initiative.

However you choose to recognize Memorial Day this year, be it at a parade, VFW ceremony or a neighborhood BBQ, let us all both honor the veterans who have served our country and commit to meaningfully support those brave men and women who have chosen to follow them.

Mark Stevens
candidate for PA House of Representatives, 156th district


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