WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, introduced two bills last week to improve mental health care for veterans.
The Promoting Coordination for Veteran Suicide Prevention Act requires a five-year review of veteran suicides within the first year of a veteran’s separation from the military. It requires the Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Administration (VA) to review suicides together so they will be better able to identify risk factors and improve prevention techniques.
“Veterans at risk of suicide deserve our support. Gathering and sharing data between DoD and VA can give a comprehensive look at why suicides occur after leaving the service. This is an important step to providing veterans with care they deserve,” said Dr. Cassidy.
U.S. Senator Jon Tester, D-MT, joined Cassidy in sponsoring this bipartisan bill.
The Care for Veterans with Serious Mental Illness Act requires the DoD and VA to develop clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) to establish a standard of care for treating veterans with serious mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, chronic Major Depressive Disorder, persistent mood disorder (Bipolar I and II), and other mental, behavioral or emotional disorders resulting in serious functional impairment that interferes with major life activities.
“Forming these guidelines will provide a guide for all VA health care providers on the best standards of care for veterans affected by serious mental illness. Creating a standard will improve the quality of care and outcomes for our veterans,” said Dr. Cassidy.
U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) joined Cassidy in sponsoring this bipartisan bill.