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H.R. 2441: Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans Mental Health Act of 2021


The text of the bill below is as of May 14, 2021 (Preprint (Suspension)).


I




                                                                       117TH CONGRESS
                                                                          1ST SESSION
                                                                                                             H. R. 2441
                                                                       To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to expand the Rural Access
                                                                           Network for Growth Enhancement Program of the Department of Vet-
                                                                           erans Affairs, and to direct the Comptroller General of the United
                                                                           States to conduct a study to assess certain mental health care resources
                                                                           of the Department of Veterans Affairs available to veterans who live
                                                                           in rural areas.




                                                                                     IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
                                                                                                     APRIL 12, 2021
                                                                       Mrs. AXNE (for herself, Mrs. HINSON, Mr. RYAN, Mrs. MILLER-MEEKS, Mr.
                                                                           FEENSTRA, and Mr. CASE) introduced the following bill; which was re-
                                                                           ferred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs




                                                                                                                 A BILL
                                                                       To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to expand the
                                                                          Rural Access Network for Growth Enhancement Pro-
                                                                          gram of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and to
                                                                          direct the Comptroller General of the United States to
                                                                          conduct a study to assess certain mental health care
                                                                          resources of the Department of Veterans Affairs available
                                                                          to veterans who live in rural areas.

                                                                         1               Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-
                                                                         2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
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2 1 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. 2 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Sgt. Ketchum Rural 3 Veterans Mental Health Act of 2021’’. 4 SEC. 2. EXPANSION OF RURAL ACCESS NETWORK FOR 5 GROWTH ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM OF THE 6 DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS. 7 (a) EXPANSION.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs 8 shall establish and maintain three new centers of the 9 RANGE Program. 10 (b) LOCATIONS.—The centers established under sub- 11 section (a) shall be located in areas determined by the Sec- 12 retary based on— 13 (1) the need for additional mental health care 14 for rural veterans in such areas; and 15 (2) interest expressed by personnel at facilities 16 of the Department in such areas. 17 (c) TIMELINE.—The Secretary shall establish the 18 centers under subsection (a) during fiscal year 2022. 19 (d) FUNDING.—There is authorized to be appro- 20 priated $1,200,000 for each of fiscal years 2022 through 21 2024 to carry out this section. 22 SEC. 3. GAO STUDY OF MENTAL HEALTH CARE FURNISHED 23 BY THE SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 24 TO RURAL VETERANS. kjohnson on DSK79L0C42PROD with BILLS 25 (a) STUDY REQUIRED.—The Comptroller General of 26 the United States shall conduct a study to assess whether •HR 2441 IH VerDate Sep 11 2014 23:54 Apr 27, 2021 Jkt 019200 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:\BILLS\H2441.IH H2441
3 1 the Department of Veterans Affairs has sufficient re- 2 sources to serve rural veterans who need covered mental 3 health care. Such study shall include assessments of— 4 (1) whether the mental health care furnished by 5 the Secretary (through resources including the 6 RANGE Program, Enhanced RANGE Program, 7 mental health residential rehabilitation treatment 8 programs, inpatient mental health services, and 9 PRR centers) is sufficient to meet the covered men- 10 tal health care needs of rural veterans; 11 (2) how best to expand and to appropriately lo- 12 cate resources described in paragraph (1); 13 (3) whether to require the establishment of a 14 PRR center at a medical facility of the Department 15 that serves 1,000 or more veterans on the National 16 Psychosis Registry; 17 (4) the demand by rural veterans for mental 18 health resources specified in paragraph (1); 19 (5) the average wait time for a rural veteran for 20 mental health resources specified in paragraph (1); 21 and 22 (6) how many rural veterans died by suicide or 23 overdose— 24 (A) while on a wait list for mental health kjohnson on DSK79L0C42PROD with BILLS 25 resources specified in paragraph (1); and •HR 2441 IH VerDate Sep 11 2014 23:54 Apr 27, 2021 Jkt 019200 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:\BILLS\H2441.IH H2441
4 1 (B) during the term of the study. 2 (b) REPORT REQUIRED.—Not later than 18 months 3 after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comp- 4 troller General shall submit to the Committees on Vet- 5 erans’ Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives 6 a report containing the results of the study under this sec- 7 tion. 8 SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS. 9 In this Act: 10 (1) The term ‘‘covered mental health care’’ 11 means mental health care that is more intensive 12 than traditional outpatient therapy. 13 (2) The term ‘‘PRR center’’ means a psycho- 14 social rehabilitation and recovery center of the De- 15 partment of Veterans Affairs. 16 (3) The term ‘‘RANGE Program’’ means the 17 Rural Access Network for Growth Enhancement 18 Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs. 19 (4) The term ‘‘rural veteran’’ means a veteran 20 who lives in a rural or highly rural area (including 21 such an area in a Tribal or insular area), as deter- 22 mined through the use of the Rural-Urban Com- 23 muting Areas coding system of the Department of 24 Agriculture. kjohnson on DSK79L0C42PROD with BILLS Æ •HR 2441 IH VerDate Sep 11 2014 23:54 Apr 27, 2021 Jkt 019200 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6301 E:\BILLS\H2441.IH H2441