Text: H.R.1308 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/04/2009)


111th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 1308

To direct the Secretary of Defense to adopt a program of professional and confidential screenings to detect mental health injuries acquired during deployment in support of a contingency operation and ultimately to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 4, 2009

Mr. McMahon (for himself, Mr. Rooney, and Mr. Perriello) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services, and in addition to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To direct the Secretary of Defense to adopt a program of professional and confidential screenings to detect mental health injuries acquired during deployment in support of a contingency operation and ultimately to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Veterans Mental Health Screening and Assessment Act”.

SEC. 2. Sense of Congress.

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) the increasing rate of suicide among veterans returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom is a serious problem; and

(2) the Secretary of Defense should conduct mandatory, face-to-face and confidential mental health and traumatic brain injury screenings by a licensed medical professional, for each member of the Armed Forces, during the period beginning 90 days after the date on which the member completes a deployment in support of a contingency operation and ending 180 days after such date.

SEC. 3. Mandatory, face-to-face and confidential screenings for suicide prevention among veterans.

(a) Mandatory screenings.—The Secretary of Defense shall carry out a mandatory, face-to-face, and confidential mental health and traumatic brain injury screening conducted by a licensed medical professional, for each member of the Armed Forces, during the period beginning 90 days after the date on which the member completes a deployment in support of a contingency operation and ending 180 days after such date.

(b) Requirements of screening.—The screenings required by subsection (a) shall be designed to—

(1) provide the members of the Armed Forces with an objective mental health and traumatic brain injury standard to screen for suicide risk factors;

(2) ease the members’ transitions by allowing them to be honest in their assessments;

(3) battle the stigma of depression and mental health problems among service personnel and veterans; and

(4) ultimately reduce the prevalence of suicide among veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

(c) Return to United States.—The Secretary of Defense may not prohibit a member of the Armed Forces from returning to the United States by reason of any result or determination made pursuant to a screening conducted under subsection (a).

(d) Requirement for Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs To share information about mental health screenings.—Pursuant to and consistent with requirements of the Wounded Warrior Act (title IV of Public Law 110–181; 10 U.S.C. 1071 note), and section 1614 of that Act in particular, and section 1720F of title 38, United States Code, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish a joint protocol to share existing and future reports from confidential mental health screenings conducted under this section to help aid members of the Armed Forces in their transition from health care and treatment provided by the Department of Defense to health care and treatment provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(e) Contingency operation.—for the purposes of this Act, the term “contingency operation” has the meaning given that term under section 101(13) of title 10, United States Code.