Any veteran would be eligible for mental-health services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, under legislation now pending on Capitol Hill.
Should the Veterans’ Acute Crisis Care for Emergent Suicide Victims Act become law, the change would apply to all veterans regardless of discharge status. These veterans would incur no out-of-pocket costs for the treatment they get.
Veterans who find themselves in crisis situations would gain entry into the VA system by reaching out through the Veterans Crisis Line.
Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., sponsored the bill. It now pends before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which Takano chairs.
Lawmakers’ interest in the legislation was spurred by an incident involving a veteran who sought and received help from a VA treatment facility, even though he was not enrolled in the VA health-care system. He later received a bill for $20,000 for the treatment – which subsequently worsened the state of his mental health.
The bill would “take cost out of the equation and ensure all veterans can get this critical care during a mental health crisis without any doubt about who will pay for it,” Takano said. “By expanding eligibility for emergent care, my bill will help save veterans’ lives.”