Starting next Tuesday, all American veterans will be able to access emergency mental health services at any Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility or private clinic free of charge and regardless if they are enrolled in the VA system.
Under the new policy, which was announced Friday, cost of care will be waived at any VA facility and the VA will cover any costs associated with private medical facilities, such as appointment fees and transportation costs, as well as “inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days,” according to a statement released by the department. The only people not eligible are those who received a dishonorable discharge.
VA Secretary for Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough stated that “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.”