Veterans who hold other-than-honorable discharges now can be treated at emergency rooms operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin announced the change June 27, identifying it as a part of VA’s role in curbing suicides among veterans.

“Suicide is my top clinical priority. We want these former service members to know there is someplace they can turn to if they are facing a mental health emergency – whether it means urgent care at a VA emergency department, a Vet Center, or through the Veterans Crisis Line,” Shulkin said.

Shulkin ordered all medical centers operated by VA’s Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to begin offering services to all veterans effective July 5. The benefit extends to any such veteran for an initial 90-day period after they receive their administrative discharge. The Veterans Benefits Administration would then work with the VHA to determine if any such veteran’s condition is related to a service-connected injury. In such a case, a veteran could qualify for VA disability benefits.