On Monday, January 12, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 203, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 203 was introduced by Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) on January 7, 2015 and was referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
H.R. 203 (1) requires an independent third party to conduct an annual evaluation of the mental health care and suicide prevention programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); (2) directs the VA to publish a website to provide information on all the mental health care services available to veterans in their respective Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN); (3) establishes a 3-year pilot program to repay education loans of at least ten psychiatrists on the condition that they commit to work at the VA for at least two years; (4) establishes a 3-year pilot program in at least 5 VISNs to assist veterans transitioning from serving on active duty to improve the access of veterans to mental health services; (5) authorizes the VA to collaborate with non-profit mental health organizations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of suicide prevention efforts, and to jointly carry out such efforts; (6) extends for an additional year eligibility for VA health care services for certain combat veterans who have not enrolled and whose five year combat eligibility period recently expired; and (7) provides that no additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out H.R. 203.
The preliminary CBO cost estimate for HR 203 remains unchanged from the previous estimate. According to the CBO, the version of this legislation that passed in the 113th Congress would cost $22 million over the 2015-2019 period, subject to the availability of appropriations.
For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.