V.A. Eastern Kansas hoping Congress passes bill improving access to mental health care for rural veterans

Health Check

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act on August 5, an act introduced by U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

This act, if passed by Congress, would improve the access to mental health care for veterans in rural areas by increasing the number of locations at which veterans can access virtual care.

“I do see that our veterans are struggling, they are isolated. We need human contact in order to have optimal mental health,” said Dr. Stephanie Davis, suicide prevention coordinator for V.A. Eastern Kansas Health Care System.

The Colmery-O’Neil V.A. Medical Center in Topeka has faced the problem during the pandemic, with a rise in the amount of virtual appointments according to Davis.

The bill will now go to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration, and if passed would improve the access to mental health care, while also creating more jobs for the medical center in their behavioral health department, Davis said.

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