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S. 2300 (113th): Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2014

The text of the bill below is as of May 7, 2014 (Introduced).


II

113th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2300

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 7, 2014

(for himself and Mr. Wicker) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services

A BILL

To amend title 10, United States Code, to require the Secretary of Defense to conduct periodic mental health assessments for members of the Armed Forces and to submit reports with respect to mental health, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2014 .

2.

Annual mental health assessments for members of the Armed Forces

(a)

Mental health assessments

(1)

In general

Chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1074m the following new section:

1074n.

Annual mental health assessments for members of the armed forces

(a)

Mental health assessments

Subject to subsection (d), not less frequently than once each calendar year, the Secretary of Defense shall provide a person-to-person mental health assessment for—

(1)

each member of the armed forces on active duty; and

(2)

each member of the Ready Reserve of an armed force.

(b)

Purpose

The purpose of a mental health assessment provided pursuant to this section shall be to identify mental health conditions among members of the armed forces in order to determine which such members are in need of additional care, treatment, or other services for such health conditions.

(c)

Elements

The mental health assessments provided pursuant to this section shall—

(1)

be conducted in accordance with the requirements of subsection (c)(1) of section 1074m of this title with respect to a mental health assessment provided pursuant to such section; and

(2)

include a review of the health records of the member that are related to each previous health assessment or other relevant activities of the member while serving in the armed forces, as determined by the Secretary.

(d)

Sufficiency of other mental health assessments

(1)

The Secretary is not required to provide a mental health assessment pursuant to this section to an individual in a calendar year in which the individual has received a mental health assessment pursuant to section 1074m of this title.

(2)

The Secretary may treat periodic health assessments and other person-to-person assessments that are provided to members of the armed forces, including examinations under section 1074f of this title, as meeting the requirements for mental health assessments required under this section if the Secretary determines that such assessments and person-to-person assessments meet the requirements for mental health assessments established by this section.

(e)

Reports

(1)

Not less frequently than once each year, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate and the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives a report on the annual mental health assessments of members of the armed forces conducted pursuant to this section.

(2)

Each report required by paragraph (1) shall include, with respect to assessments conducted pursuant to this section during the one-year period preceding the date of the submittal of such report, the following:

(A)

The number of members who received an assessment.

(B)

A description of the tools and processes used to provide such assessments, including—

(i)

whether such tools and processes are evidenced-based; and

(ii)

the process by which such tools and processes have been approved for use in providing mental health assessments.

(C)

A description of the mental health conditions detected through such assessments.

(D)

The number of members referred for care and services based on mental health conditions detected through such assessments.

(E)

Such recommendations for improving the monitoring and reporting of the number of members who receive care and services based on such referrals as the Secretary considers appropriate.

(F)

Such recommendations for improving the tools and processes used to conduct such assessments, including tools that may address the underreporting of mental health conditions, as the Secretary considers appropriate.

(3)

No personally identifiable information may be included in any report under paragraph (1).

(f)

Privacy matters

Any medical or other personal information obtained under this section shall be protected from disclosure or misuse in accordance with the laws on privacy applicable to such information.

(g)

Regulations

The Secretary of Defense shall, in consultation with the other administering Secretaries, prescribe regulations for the administration of this section.

.

(2)

Clerical amendment

The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 55 of such title is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1074m the following new item:

1074n. Annual mental health assessments for members of the armed forces.

.

(3)

Implementation

Not later than 180 days after the date of the issuance of the regulations prescribed under section 1074n(g) of title 10, United States Code, as added by paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Secretary of Defense shall implement such regulations.

(b)

Conforming amendment

Section 1074m(e)(1) of such title is amended by inserting and section 1074n of this title after pursuant to this section.

3.

Interagency working group on the provision of mental health services to members of the National Guard and the Reserves

(a)

Establishment

Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall, in consultation with the Secretaries of the military departments, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, convene an interagency working group to review and recommend collaborative approaches to improving the provision of mental health services to members of the National Guard and the Reserves.

(b)

Duties

The duties of the interagency working group convened pursuant to subsection (a) are as follows:

(1)

To review existing programs that can be used to improve the provision of accessible, timely, and high-quality mental health services to members of the National Guard and the Reserves.

(2)

To recommend new interagency programs and partnerships to improve the provision of such mental health services to such members.

(3)

To recommend best practices for partnerships among the Armed Forces, the National Guard, the Department of Health and Human Services, States, and private and academic entities to improve the provision of mental health care to members of the National Guard and the Reserves.

(c)

Consultation

In carrying out the duties under subsection (b), the interagency working group may consult with representatives of academia, industry, and such other relevant agencies, organizations, and institutions as the interagency working group considers appropriate.

(d)

Report

(1)

In general

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report that includes the findings and recommendations of the interagency working group.

(2)

Appropriate committees of Congress

In this subsection, the term appropriate committees of Congress means—

(A)

the congressional defense committees, as that term is defined in section 101(a)(16) of title 10, United States Code;

(B)

the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate; and

(C)

the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives.

(e)

Privacy matters

(1)

In general

Any medical or other personal information obtained pursuant to any provision of this section shall be protected from disclosure or misuse in accordance with the laws on privacy applicable to such information.

(2)

Exclusion of personally identifiable information from reports

No personally identifiable information may be included in any report required by subsection (d).

4.

Report on improvements in the identification and treatment of mental health conditions and traumatic brain injury among members of the Armed Forces

(a)

In general

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate and the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives a report setting forth an evaluation of specific tools, processes, and best practices to improve the identification of and treatment by the Armed Forces of mental health conditions and traumatic brain injury among members of the Armed Forces.

(b)

Elements

The report under subsection (a) shall include the following:

(1)

An evaluation of existing peer-to-peer identification and intervention programs in each of the Armed Forces.

(2)

An evaluation of the Star Behavioral Health Providers program and similar programs that provide training and certification to health care providers that treat mental health conditions and traumatic brain injury in members of the Armed Forces.

(3)

An evaluation of programs and services provided by the Armed Forces that provide training and certification to providers of cognitive rehabilitation and other rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury to members of the Armed Forces.

(4)

An evaluation of programs and services provided by the Armed Forces that target members of the Armed Forces and family members affected by suicides among members of the Armed Forces.

(5)

An evaluation of tools and processes used by the Armed Forces to identify traumatic brain injury in members of the Armed Forces and to distinguish mental health conditions likely caused by traumatic brain injury from mental health conditions caused by other factors.

(6)

An evaluation of the unified effort of the Armed Forces to promote mental health and prevent suicide through the integration of clinical and non-clinical programs of the Armed Forces.

(7)

Recommendations with respect to improving, consolidating, expanding, and standardizing the programs, services, tools, processes, and efforts described in paragraphs (1) through (6).

(8)

A description of existing efforts to reduce the time from development and testing of new mental health and traumatic brain injury tools and treatments for members of the Armed Forces to widespread dissemination of such tools and treatments among the Armed Forces.

(9)

Recommendations as to the feasibility and advisability of establishing preliminary mental health assessments and pre-discharge mental health assessments for members of the Armed Forces, including the utility of using tools and processes in such mental health assessments that conform to those used in other mental health assessments provided to members of the Armed Forces.

(10)

Recommendations on tracking changes in the mental health assessment of a member of the Armed Forces relating to traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and other conditions.

(11)

A description of the methodology used by the Secretary in preparing the report required by this section, including a description of the input provided by the entity and individuals consulted pursuant to subsection (c).

(c)

Consultation

The Secretary of Defense shall carry out this section in consultation with the following:

(1)

An advisory council composed of—

(A)

behavioral health officers of the Public Health Service; and

(B)

mental health and other health providers who serve members of the regular and reserve components of each Armed Force.

(2)

The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.

(3)

The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.

(4)

The Secretaries of the military departments.

(5)

The Chief of the National Guard Bureau.

(6)

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

(7)

The Secretary of Health and Human Services.

(8)

The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(9)

The Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

(10)

The Director of the National Institutes of Health.

(11)

The President of the Institute of Medicine.

(d)

Privacy matters

(1)

In general

Any medical or other personal information obtained pursuant to any provision of this section shall be protected from disclosure or misuse in accordance with the laws on privacy applicable to such information.

(2)

Exclusion of personally identifiable information from reports

No personally identifiable information may be included in any report required by subsection (a).

(e)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Preliminary mental health assessment

The term preliminary mental health assessment means a mental health assessment conducted with respect to an individual before the individual enlists in the Armed Forces or is commissioned as an officer in the Armed Forces.

(2)

Pre-discharge mental health assessment

The term pre-discharge mental health assessment means a mental health assessment conducted with respect to an individual during the 90-day period preceding the date of discharge or release of the individual from the Armed Forces.