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H.R. 4684 (114th): Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 3, 2016.


Veteran Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act

This bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish a program to provide former members of the Armed Forces with: (1) an initial mental health assessment; and (2) health care services required to treat the former member's urgent mental health care needs, including risk of suicide or harming others.

A former member of the Armed Forces is an individual who meets either of the following criteria:

the individual is a former member of the Armed Forces, including the reserve components, who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and was discharged or released under a condition less than honorable (except a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge by reason of a general court martial), has applied for a character of service determination that has not yet been made, and is not otherwise eligible to enroll in the VA health care system by reason of such discharge or release; or the individual is a veteran not otherwise eligible for VA health care. The VA may provide such mental health care services pursuant to a contract with a qualified mental health professional if: (1) the receipt of mental health care services by an individual in VA facilities would be clinically inadvisable, or (2) VA facilities are not capable of furnishing such mental health care services to that individual economically because of geographical inaccessibility.

The VA shall seek to enter into a contract with an independent nongovernmental entity to study the effect combat service has had on suicide rates and serious mental health issues among veterans.