WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs will hear testimony on the Veterans Mental Health Treatment First Act (S.2573) sponsored by Senator Burr during a legislative hearing on Wednesday, May 21. The legislation would place a greater emphasis on treating veterans with mental health disorders and establish wellness incentives for veterans seeking treatment. Burr introduced the legislation on January 30.
Under the legislation, veterans who enroll in the voluntary program would work with a Veterans Affairs (VA) clinician to develop an individualized mental health treatment plan. Any veteran who is diagnosed with PTSD, depression, or an anxiety disorder related to their military service would be eligible, regardless of their disability claims status. Those who enroll in the program would receive stipends to help them defray their living costs and to help them focus on their recovery. At the end of the treatment program, veterans can apply for disability compensation if they so choose.
The Veterans Disability Benefits Commission and the Dole-Shalala Commission has recommended the VA take a more aggressive approach to treating mental health disorders, especially PTSD.
U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
418 Russell Senate Office Building
S. 2273, the Enhanced Opportunities for Formerly Homeless Veterans Residing in Permanent Housing Act of 2007
S. 2377, the Veterans Health Care Quality Improvement Act
S. 2383, A bill to require a pilot program on the mobile provision of care and services for veterans in rural areas by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
S. 2573, the Veterans Mental Health Treatment First Act
S. 2639, the Assured Funding for Veterans Health Care Act
S. 2796, A bill to require a pilot program on the use of community-based organizations to ensure that veterans receive the care and benefits they need, and for other purposes.
S. 2797, A bill to authorize major medical facility projects and major medical facility leases for the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2009, and for other purposes.
S. 2799, the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2008
S. 2824, A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the collective bargaining rights and procedures for review of adverse actions of certain employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
S. 2889, the Veterans Health Care Act of 2008
S. 2899, the Veterans Suicide Study Act
S. 2921, the Caring for Wounded Warriors Act of 2008
S. 2926, the Veterans Nonprofit Research and Education Corporations Enhancement Act of 2008
S. 2937, A bill to provide permanent treatment authority for participants in Department of Defense chemical and biological testing conducted by Deseret Test Center and an expanded study of the health impact of Project Shipboard Hazard and Defense, and for other purposes.
S. 2963, A bill to improve and enhance the mental health care benefits available to members of the Armed Forces and veterans, to enhance counseling and other benefits available to survivors of members of the Armed Forces and veterans, and for other purposes.
S. 2969, the Veterans' Medical Personnel Recruitment and Retention Act of 2008
S. 2984, the Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act of 2008
Witness Panel I
Gerald M. Cross, MD, Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs
Walter Hall, Assistant General Counsel
Joleen Clark, Chief Workforce Management and Consulting Officer, Veterans Health Administration
Katheryn Enchelmayer, Director, Quality Standards, Office of Quality and Performance, Veterans Health Administration
Witness Panel II
Carl Blake, National Legislative Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America
Jacob Gadd, Assistant Director of Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission, The
Joy J. Ilem, Assistant National Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans
Chris Needham, Senior Legislative Associate, National Legislative Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars
Witness Panel III
Stan Luke, PhD, Vice President for Programs, Helping Hands Hawaii
J. David Cox, RN, National Secretary-Treasurer, American Federation of Government Employees
Cecilia McVey, MHA, RN, Former President, Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs
Donna Lee McCartney, Chair, National Association of Veterans' Research and Education Foundations
Thomas Berger, PhD, Chair, National PTSD and Substance Abuse Committee, Vietnam Veterans of America
Sally Satel, MD, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute