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Memorial Day Message: Two New Bills in Congress to Support Veterans Healthcare and Military Mental Health

By May 25, 2023No Comments
Picture of Veteran Cemetary

Senate Bill 1315: The “Veterans' Health Empowerment, Access, Leadership, and Transparency for our Heroes (HEALTH) Act of 2023.”

Image by Charles Thompson from Pixabay

I hope you’re doing well. Senator Moran has released another bill with a major section inspired by the COVER Commission. Senate Bill 1315 is entitled “Veterans’ Health Empowerment, Access, Leadership, and Transparency for our Heroes (HEALTH) Act of 2023.” Section 201 is a “Strategic plan on transition of Veterans Health Administration to value-based health care model.”

It specifically cites the COVER Commission finding to transition to a value-based care model and requires a member of the COVER Commission to be on that transition team (Chosen by the Secretary of the VA).

Here is the link to the bill if you’d like to check it out. https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/senate-bill/1315/text?s=1&r=2

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House Resolution 3011: To Establish a Task Force of the Department of Defense on Mental Health

NAMI Montana is really grateful to Congressman Derek Kilmer of Washington State for allowing NAMI Montana to help advise on the creation of HR 3011 which would establish a task force of the Department of Defense on Mental Health. The Task Force was modeled after the COVER Commission described above.

There is a lot to like about this bill and what it says about our work on the COVER Commission, but we are especially happy about Section (3)(C)(R)  which will analyze “The efficiency and effectiveness of pre- and post-deployment mental health screenings, including mental health screenings for members of the Armed Forces.”

These are the deployment mental health screenings that NAMI Montana worked with Senator Max Baucus and Senator Ted Kennedy to pass as part of the Defense Authorization Act of 2010. This mandatory, systematic screening methodology was developed in Montana after my stepbrother Chris Dana’s death. The opportunity to work on that issue was what brought me to NAMI Montana in the summer of 2008.

The chance to have those screenings strengthened and improved upon by a Congressional Task Force after all these years. means so much.

You can read the full text of the bill at this link – https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/3011/text?s=1&r=4

Thank you to all of our donors that make this possible, particularly the Trans-Montana Snowmobile Charity ride for their targeted support for our veterans advocacy.

We hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Memorial Day. Please take a moment to remember our fallen heroes.

 

Sincerely,

Matt Kuntz

Executive Director