White House Takes Steps On Veteran Mental Health, Surprise Bills, Infrastructure

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Reprinted from Kaiser Family Health on July 1, 2021

President Joe Biden signed into law a mental health bill aimed at boosting the Department of Veterans Affairs services and care for rural veterans. Other news from the administration focuses on surprising billing, cancer, funeral aid and the infrastructure deal.

President Biden Signs Rural Mental Health Act Named For Iowa Veteran Into Law

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed a mental health bill into law named for Sgt. Brandon Ketchum – an Iowa veteran who took his own life after being denied mental health services in 2016. The ‘Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans’ Mental Health Act’ was penned by Iowa congresswoman Cindy Axne. The bill creates new programs within the VA that are specifically targeted at increasing mental healthcare access in rural areas. (Hendrickson, 6/30)

Led By Iowa’s U.S. House Delegation, Biden Signs Rural Mental Health Act Named For Iowa Veteran Into Law

The law requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish and maintain three new centers of the Rural Access Network for Growth Enhancement (RANGE) Program in areas with interest from personnel and a need for additional mental health care for rural veterans. The RANGE Program serves veterans in rural areas who are experiencing mental illness. It also requires the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study and report on whether the VA has sufficient resources to serve rural veterans who need mental health care that is more intensive than traditional outpatient therapy. (Oates, 6/30)

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