With this new benefit, veterans won’t have to pay for the care they receive at private or VA clinics
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides much needed care to eligible veterans and now, the emergency suicide care that the VA provides might be free. Over 18 million veterans might be eligible to receive this free care. The VA already helped veterans struggling with mental health but this new benefit might save a lot of peoples lives.
Emergency health care
Free emergency care for veterans could possibly save thousands of lives. According to the VA, over six-thousand veterans died by suicide in 2020. Every month, over five-thousand veterans are hospitalized because of a risk of attempted suicide. And one of the things that makes care for veterans challenging, is that most of them think they can not afford the care they need. But this new policy is working to change that.
Cliff Smith, the director of analytics, innovation and collaboration within VA’s Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, told NBC News: “There have been a lot of situations where we know a veteran is in crisis somewhere but they’re not at the hospital. There were many situations where we knew there was a need, but because of financial concerns we weren’t able to connect that need to a facility. We are addressing the anxiety associated with a bill or cost. That’s off the table.”
In order to receive medical benefits, people usually have to be enrolled in a system. But with this new policy, veterans will be eligible to receive free emergency suicide care without being enrolled in the VA system. Veterans will be able to get thirty days of residential care and ninety days of outpatient care. They won’t have to pay any fees or copays. And when they receive their care at a private facility, the government will pay for it. If a veteran needs to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance, those costs will be covered too.
Denis McDonough, VA Secretary, said in a statement: “Veterans in suicidal crisis can now receive the free, world-class emergency health care they deserve — no matter where they need it, when they need it, or whether they’re enrolled in VA care. This expansion of care will save Veterans’ lives, and there’s nothing more important than that.”
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Source: NBC News | Image: Unsplash, IIONA VIRGIN