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Bilirakis Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve Mental Healthcare for Veterans

July 13, 2020
Press Release
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Summer Robertson (727) 232-2921 

Bilirakis Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Improve Mental Healthcare for Veterans

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), and Congressman Mike Levin (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would help ensure Veterans receive the highest quality care possible from private providers. The VA Clinical Training in Evidence-based treatments And Military (TEAM) Culture Act will require that Veterans receive culturally competent, evidence-based mental health treatment from private providers, as is already required of VA mental health providers. This legislation is latest in a series of measures Congressman Bilirakis has supported in order to transform the way mental health issues in the Veteran community are identified, diagnosed and treated.

The staggering suicide rate that continues to plague the Veteran community is much higher than the rates found in the general population.  This problem is indicative of the fact that we are not doing enough to recognize the warning signs of those who may be at risk and providing effective interventions and supports needed to prevent this tragic outcome.  It is imperative that both those within the VA and out in the community are properly trained on Veteran-specific mental health issues and that they all better understand treating those from a military culture. I’m glad to join forces in this bipartisan initiative to ensure our heroes get the help they need,” said Rep. Bilirakis.

 

“Suicide amongst our veterans is and has been a public health crisis in this country. The suicide rate is unconscionably high, and we know that the only way to reduce it is by providing our veterans with the best mental health care possible. After serving our country bravely, the least we can do for these women and men is provide them with clinically effective mental health treatment that respects the military experience,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “I heard from veterans across Delaware about the importance of access to high-quality mental health care, which is why I’m proud to introduce the VA Clinical Training in Evidence-based treatments And Military (TEAM) Culture Act, which will require training to better allow private providers to understand veterans and their experiences. Providing quality health care to our veterans is upholding our end of the bargain, and the VA Clinical TEAM Culture Act will help us do just that.”

 

“Veteran suicide is a public health crisis, and we need to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to save lives,” said Rep. Levin. “All mental health care providers must be prepared to meet the unique challenges veterans face, which is why this bill helps ensure non-VA mental health providers are trained to treat veterans. I’m proud to join Reps. Blunt Rochester and Bilirakis in introducing this bipartisan legislation as we work together to address the epidemic of veteran suicide.”

 

The VA Clinical Training in Evidence-based treatments And Military (TEAM) Culture Act will make use of the latest research from VA by:

  • Requiring all private mental health providers to follow the same standards and requirements as VA mental health providers.
  • Requiring providers to take courses on military culture and on evaluation and management of suicide, PTSD, TBI, and military sexual trauma (MST).
  • Reporting back to Congress the progress made by private providers in completing these requirements.

The full text of the bill can be found here

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