Veterans Subpanel OKs Bills on Suicide Prevention, Combat Health Care

Posted March 13, 2007 at 4:29pm

The House Veterans’ Affairs health subcommittee quickly reported out two resolutions today, one on suicide reduction and the other to extend the period of eligibility for combat health care.

The two measures, approved by voice votes and without amendments, are the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act (H.R. 327) and the Returning Servicemember VA Healthcare Insurance Act of 2007 (H.R. 612).

The suicide prevention legislation directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop and implement a comprehensive program to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans. It focuses on improving care and treatment for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and for elderly veterans who are at high risk for depression. Among other things, the bill would institute 24-hour mental health care assistance for veterans.

The insurance act would extend the eligibility period for combat health care from two to five years. This provision will only apply to combat service in the Iraq War and in future hostilities.