S.2162 - Mental Health Improvements Act of 2007
A bill to improve the treatment and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders, and for other purposes. view all titles (6)
All Bill Titles
- Official: A bill to improve the treatment and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders, and for other purposes. as introduced.
- Short: Mental Health Improvements Act of 2007 as introduced.
- Short: Veterans' Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008 as passed senate.
- Short: Veterans Mental Health Improvements Act of 2008 as reported to senate.
- Short: Veterans' Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008 as passed house.
- Short: Veterans' Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008 as enacted.
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Official Summary6/3/2008--Passed Senate amended. Veterans' Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008 - Title I: Health Care Matters - (Sec. 101) Amends federal veterans' benefits provisions to repeal a requirement that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs adjust the amounts deducted fro
Official Summary6/3/2008--Passed Senate amended. Veterans' Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008 - Title I: Health Care Matters -
(Sec. 101)Amends federal veterans' benefits provisions to repeal a requirement that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs adjust the amounts deducted from payments or allowances made by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for beneficiary travel expenses in connection with health care whenever the payment or allowance is adjusted. Requires the Secretary, in determining the amount of travel reimbursement, to use the mileage reimbursement rate for the use of privately owned vehicles by government employees on official business. Authorizes the Secretary to use a rate in excess of such rate, subject to the availability of appropriations. Requires a report from the Secretary to the congressional veterans' committees on additional costs incurred by the VA due to implementation of this section.
(Sec. 102)Requires (current law authorizes) the Secretary to reimburse a veteran for the costs of emergency treatment received in a non-VA facility prior to transfer to a VA facility.
(Sec. 103)Directs the Secretary to designate at least six VA health-care facilities as locations for epilepsy centers of excellence. Requires the:
(1) VA's Under Secretary for Health to establish a peer review panel to assess the scientific and clinical merit of proposals submitted for designation as such a center; and
(2) Secretary to follow the panel's determinations in making designations. Directs the Secretary to designate an individual in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) as a national coordinator for VHA epilepsy programs. Authorizes appropriations.
(Sec. 104)Establishes as qualifications for appointment as a peer specialist within the VHA that the person:
(1) be a veteran who has recovered or is recovering from a mental health condition; and
(2) is certified as having met the criteria for such position. Authorizes the Secretary to enter into contracts with nonprofit entities to provide peer specialist training and certification for veterans. Title II: Pain Care -
(Sec. 201)Directs the Secretary to:
(1) develop and implement a comprehensive policy on the management of pain experienced by veterans enrolled for VA health care services;
(2) periodically update the policy; and
(3) report annually through FY2018 to the veterans' committees on such policy. Title III: Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health Care -
(Sec. 302)Directs the Secretary to ensure the provision of the following services and treatment to each veteran enrolled in the VA health care system and in need of services and treatment for a substance use disorder:
(1) short-term motivational counseling;
(2) intensive outpatient or residential care;
(3) relapse prevention;
(4) ongoing aftercare and outpatient counseling;
(5) opiate substitution therapy;
(6) pharmacological treatments to reduce cravings for drugs and alcohol; and
(7) detoxification and stabilization. Requires a report from the Secretary to the veterans' committees concerning the provision of such care at each VA medical facility.
(Sec. 303)Requires the Secretary to ensure that treatment for a substance use disorder and a comorbid mental health disorder is provided concurrently through a health professional with training and expertise in the treatment of both disorders, by separate services for each disorder, or by a team of experienced clinicians.
(Sec. 304)Directs the Secretary to establish at least six national centers of excellence on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders for the provision of comprehensive inpatient or residential treatment and recovery services for veterans diagnosed with both PTSD and a substance use disorder.
(Sec. 305)Requires the Secretary to conduct a:
(1) review of all VHA residential mental health care facilities; and
(2) follow-up review, within two years after the first review, to evaluate any improvements made or problems remaining with respect to such facilities. Requires a report from the Secretary to the veterans' committees after the initial review.
(Sec. 306)Enacts this title in tribute to Justin Bailey, who, after returning to the United States from service in Operation Iraqi Freedom, died in a VA domiciliary facility while receiving care for PTSD and a substance use disorder. Title IV: Mental Health Accessibility Enhancements -
(Sec. 401)Directs the Secretary to carry out a three-year pilot program to assess the feasibility and advisability of providing veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and, in particular, veterans who served in such operations as a member of the National Guard or reserves, with:
(1) peer outreach;
(2) peer support provided by licensed providers or veterans with personal experience with mental illness; and
(3) readjustment counseling and other mental health services. Authorizes the provision of such services through community mental health centers or the Indian Health Service with respect to veterans residing in rural areas or otherwise having insufficient access to such services through the VA. Requires:
(1) the Secretary to carry out a program of appropriate training for veterans and clinicians providing such services;
(2) each center or Indian Health Service facility providing such services to report annually to the Secretary; and
(3) the Secretary to design and implement a strategy for evaluating the pilot program. Authorizes appropriations. Title V: Mental Health Research -
(Sec. 501)Directs the Secretary to carry out a program of research into comorbid PTSD and substance use disorder through the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Authorizes appropriations.
(Sec. 502)Amends the Veterans' Health Care Act of 1984 to extend through 2012 (currently, 2008) the reporting requirement for the Special Committee on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Title VI: Assistance For Families of Veterans -
(Sec. 601)Includes marriage and family counseling within authorized VA care for veterans.
(Sec. 602)Directs the Secretary to carry out, through a non-VA entity, a three-year pilot program (with authorized one-year extensions) to assess the feasibility and advisability of providing readjustment and transition assistance to veterans and their families in cooperation with ten VA Vet Centers. Requires a report from the Secretary to the veterans' committees at the conclusion of the pilot program. Authorizes appropriations. Title VII: Homeless Veterans Matters -
(Sec. 701)Repeals a requirement that the Secretary adjust per diem payments made to veterans' homeless service centers by the amount a center receives from other sources of income.
(Sec. 702)Revises provisions establishing a demonstration program of referral and counseling services for at-risk veterans transitioning from institutional living to:
(1) remove the "demonstration" designation;
(2) require the program to be carried out in at least 12 (currently, six) locations; and
(3) extend the program through FY2012.
(Sec. 703)Allows funds from grants to homeless veterans service centers to be used to fund staffing necessary to meet center requirements.
(Sec. 704)Requires the Secretary to ensure that VA domiciliary care programs are adequate, with respect to capacity and safety, to meet the needs of women veterans.
(Sec. 705)Directs the Secretary to provide financial assistance to eligible entities (private nonprofit organizations or consumer cooperatives) to provide and coordinate the provision of supportive services for very low-income veteran families occupying permanent housing. Requires:
(1) an assistance preference with respect to families transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing;
(2) equitable geographic distribution of such assistance; and
(3) the Secretary to provide training and technical assistance to participating entities regarding the planning, development, and provision of such services. Includes within authorized services outreach, case management, and assistance in obtaining VA and other federal, state, or local benefits. Provides funding. Directs the Secretary to:
(1) conduct a two-year study of the effectiveness of the assistance program in meeting the needs of very low-income veteran families; and
(2) report study results to the veterans' committees.
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