September 24, 2020

Congress Reaches Compromise on Veteran Suicide Legislation

Representative Mark Takano (D-CA). chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee have worked out a compromise for veterans’ mental health care legislation. The new legislation, the Veterans Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care and Treatment, or COMPACT bill, mandates that VA cover acute care for emergency mental health crises, either at VA hospitals/clinics, or at a private facility. The COMPACT bill also requires VA to provide annual reports on its program to support veterans during their first year after service, contact veterans who have not reached out to VA in two or more years, and provide annual crisis intervention training to VA security officers and police. The House committee considered the proposal last Thursday, and the Senate is expected to approve following a simple majority in the House. This legislation makes real, substantive progress toward reducing veteran suicide after years of work pushing veteran mental health care legislation in Congress.