Monday, June 11, 2012

McCaskill Supports Addition of Veterans’ Mental Health Providers

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today released the following statement in response to the plan released by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to make good on promises to hire nearly 2,000 workers nationwide to treat and assist military veterans requiring mental health services:

“Veterans in Missouri and across the country need to have access to the best possible care—period—and that’s especially important when we’re talking about issues of mental health. I’ve fought to increase veterans’ access to mental health care, and I’m thrilled that additional providers will be hired in Missouri.  But I’m not going to rest for a second until our veterans are receiving the care that they need and have earned.”

VA medical centers in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, and Poplar Bluff are slated to receive additional mental health clinicians.  According to the VA, the number of additional staff to be added at each facility is based on the veteran population in the service area, the mental health needs of veterans in that population, and the range and complexity of mental health services provided in the service area.

McCaskill has been a champion for military veterans and servicemembers since coming to the Senate in 2006.  McCaskill has fought to increase funding for veterans health programs, and in 2009, helped pass the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, legislation that enables advanced appropriations for Veterans Health Administration accounts in order to provide greater stability and support to critical veterans care programs.  In 2010, McCaskill introduced the TRICARE Mental Health Care Access Act, legislation intended to improve veterans' access to mental health services. The bill aimed to expand access to mental health services for military families and retirees by cutting through red tape that prevented licensed mental health counselors from participating in the TRICARE system. The change was signed into law as part of the Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act.

Read more about McCaskill’s work for veterans by clicking HERE.

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