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Lawmakers Introduce Bills to Expand Virtual Health for Veterans
Posted on 8/10/2020

The House Committee of Veterans’ Affairs announced two new bipartisan bills that will help prevent veteran suicide by expanding access to virtual mental healthcare and teaching critical coping strategies to veterans’ families.

The Veterans’ Access to Online Treatment Act, introduced Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), will increase and expand access to online evidence-based treatments for mental health issues including anxiety and PTSD.

“For veterans who live in rural areas far from a VA facility — and there are thousands in Maine — distance is often a huge barrier to receiving care,” said Rep. Golden. “That distance can be dangerous if it keeps veterans from seeking care for mental health issues. Telehealth alternatives are a promising way to address this problem for rural veterans, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Peer Support For Veteran Families Act introduced by Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) and Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) will initiate a pilot program at VA facilities to provide education and peer support after a mental health diagnosis.

“Caring for someone with a mental health diagnosis can take a toll, putting family members and loved ones at risk for anxiety, depression and other health problems,” said Rep. Finkenauer. “The Peer Support for Veterans Families Act will help ensure we’re providing needed support for our caregivers, just like we see in private healthcare systems.”

Photo by VA

Post courtesy of the Association of Defense Communities

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