Washington DC -- Today, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing to examine the gaps in mental health care and treatment at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Click here to watch as Sen. Burr challenges VA on its lack of progress in this area and stresses the need for veterans to feel that VA is responsive from the first contact between the veteran and VA.
Senator Burr’s opening statement can be viewed in its entirety here, and excerpts are included below.
“As I have said before, early intervention offers the best hope for improvement and recovery from PTSD, depression, and substance abuse disorders. Madam Chairman, it appears that early intervention continues to be a challenge within VA. According to the IG statement, even veterans who sought help and were accepted into the mental health program ended up waiting for the actual services.
“This Committee has worked aggressively over the years, through oversight hearings such as this one, to improve health care and reduce barriers preventing veterans and servicemembers from seeking mental health services. For example, this is the third hearing in 4 years conducting oversight examining the gaps that exist in VA’s mental health care program. And yet, gauging from testimony we will hear from the first panel, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
“It is troublesome to learn of the issues both Mr. Williams and Mr. Sawyer encountered in seeking care from VA. Both encountered problems in finding someone at VA to listen to what they needed and wanted from their treatment. Their experiences lead me to ask, where is the veteran in the Department of Veterans Affairs policies? How does VA’s policy include the veteran when putting together a treatment plan?”