Text: S.1566 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

There is one version of the bill.

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (07/13/2017)


115th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 1566


To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand eligibility for mental health services from the Department of Veterans Affairs to include members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 13, 2017

Mr. Tester (for himself, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Manchin, Ms. Hassan, Ms. Baldwin, Mr. Franken, and Mr. Peters) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


A BILL

To amend title 38, United States Code, to expand eligibility for mental health services from the Department of Veterans Affairs to include members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces, and for other purposes.

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 “Care And Readiness Enhancement for Reservists Act of 2017” or the “CARE for Reservists Act of 2017”.

SEC. 2. Expansion of eligibility for readjustment counseling and related outpatient services from Department of Veterans Affairs to include members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces.

(a) Readjustment counseling.—Subsection (a)(1) of section 1712A of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

“(D) (i) The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, may furnish to any member of the reserve components of the Armed Forces who has a behavioral health condition or psychological trauma, counseling under subparagraph (A)(i), which may include a comprehensive individual assessment under subparagraph (B)(i).

“(ii) A member of the reserve components of the Armed Forces described in clause (i) shall not be required to obtain a referral before being furnished counseling or an assessment under this subparagraph.”.

(b) Outpatient services.—Subsection (b) of such section is amended—

(1) in paragraph (1)—

(A) by inserting “to an individual” after “If, on the basis of the assessment furnished”; and

(B) by striking veteran each place it appears and inserting “individual”; and

(2) in paragraph (2), by striking “veteran” and inserting “individual”.

(c) Staffing and resources of the Department of Veterans Affairs.—

(1) VET CENTERS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—In order to properly plan for any expansion of services provided as a result of the amendments made by subsections (a) and (b), the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall evaluate current and future workload under section 1712A of title 38, United States Code, as amended by subsections (a) and (b), to determine whether more Vet Centers, including mobile Vet Centers, are needed to handle such expansion.

(B) DISCUSSIONS REGARDING MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING.—If, at a Vet Center, workload treating members of the Armed Forces exceeds workload treating veterans, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall enter into discussions with the Secretary of Defense to determine whether a reimbursable memorandum of understanding between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense is warranted with respect to services provided at that Vet Center.

(C) REPORT.—Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives a report on—

(i) the evaluation conducted under subparagraph (A); and

(ii) any discussions between the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Defense under subparagraph (B).

(2) READJUSTMENT COUNSELING SERVICE.—The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall ensure that the Chief Officer of the Readjustment Counseling Service of the Veterans Health Administration has such staff, resources, and access to information as may be necessary to carry out the expansion of services resulting from the amendments made by subsections (a) and (b).

(3) VET CENTER DEFINED.—In this subsection, the term “Vet Center” has the meaning given that term in section 1712A(h) of title 38, United States Code.

(d) Effective Date.—The amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect on the date that is 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 3. Provision of mental health services from Department of Veterans Affairs to members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces.

(a) In general.—Subchapter VIII of chapter 17 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

§ 1788. Mental health services for members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces

“The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, may furnish mental health services to members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces.”.

(b) Clerical amendment.—The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 17 of such title is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1787 the following new item:


“1788. Mental health services for members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces.”.

SEC. 4. Inclusion of members of reserve components in mental health programs of Department of Veterans Affairs.

(a) Suicide prevention program.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Section 1720F of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(l) (1) COVERED INDIVIDUAL DEFINED.—In this section, the term ‘covered individual’ means a veteran or a member of the reserve components of the Armed Forces.

“(2) In determining coverage of members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces under the comprehensive program, the Secretary shall consult with the Secretary of Defense.”.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.—Such section is further amended—

(A) in subsection (a), by striking “veterans” and inserting “covered individuals”;

(B) in subsection (b), by striking “veterans” each place it appears and inserting “covered individuals”;

(C) in subsection (c)—

(i) in the subsection heading, by striking “of veterans”;

(ii) by striking “veterans” each place it appears and inserting “covered individuals”; and

(iii) by striking “veteran” and inserting “individual”;

(D) in subsection (d), by striking “to veterans” each place it appears and inserting “to covered individuals”;

(E) in subsection (e), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking “veterans” and inserting “covered individuals”;

(F) in subsection (f)—

(i) in the first sentence, by striking “veterans” and inserting “covered individuals”; and

(ii) in the second sentence, by inserting “or members” after “veterans”;

(G) in subsection (g), by striking “veterans” and inserting “covered individuals”;

(H) in subsection (h), by striking “veterans” and inserting “covered individuals”;

(I) in subsection (i)—

(i) in the subsection heading, by striking “for veterans and families”;

(ii) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking “veterans and the families of veterans” and inserting “covered individuals and the families of covered individuals”;

(iii) in paragraph (2), by striking “veterans” and inserting “covered individuals”; and

(iv) in paragraph (4), by striking “veterans” each place it appears and inserting “covered individuals”;

(J) in subsection (j)(1), by striking “veterans” each place it appears and inserting “covered individuals”; and

(K) in subsection (k), by striking “veterans” and inserting “covered individuals”.

(3) CLERICAL AMENDMENTS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Such section is further amended, in the section heading, by inserting “and members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces” after “veterans”.

(B) TABLE OF SECTIONS.—The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 17 of such title is amended by striking the item relating to section 1720F and inserting the following new item:


“1720F. Comprehensive program for suicide prevention among veterans and members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces.”.

(b) Mental health treatment for individuals who served in classified missions.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Section 1720H of such title is amended—

(A) in subsection (a)—

(i) in paragraph (1)—

(I) by striking “eligible veteran” and inserting “eligible individual”; and

(II) by striking “the veteran” and inserting “the individual”;

(ii) in paragraph (3), by striking “eligible veterans” and inserting “eligible individuals”;

(B) in subsection (b)—

(i) by striking “a veteran” and inserting “an individual”; and

(ii) by striking “eligible veteran” and inserting “eligible individual”; and

(C) in subsection (c)—

(i) in paragraph (2), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking “The term ‘eligible veteran’ means a veteran” and inserting “The term ‘eligible individual’ means a veteran or a member of the reserve components of the Armed Forces”; and

(ii) in paragraph (3), by striking “eligible veteran” and inserting “eligible individual”.

(2) CLERICAL AMENDMENTS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—Such section is further amended, in the section heading, by inserting “and members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces” after “veterans”.

(B) TABLE OF SECTIONS.—The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 17 of such title is amended by striking the item relating to section 1720H and inserting the following new item:


“1720H. Mental health treatment for veterans and members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces who served in classified missions.”.

SEC. 5. Report on mental health and related services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to members of the Armed Forces.

(a) In general.—Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives a report that includes an assessment of the following:

(1) The increase, as compared to the day before the date of the enactment of this Act, of the number of members of the Armed Forces that use readjustment counseling or outpatient mental health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, disaggregated by State, Vet Center location, and clinical care site of the Department, as appropriate.

(2) The number of members of the reserve component of the Armed Forces receiving telemental health care from the Department.

(3) The increase, as compared to the day before the date of the enactment of this Act, of the annual cost associated with readjustment counseling and outpatient mental health care provided by the Department to members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces.

(4) The changes, as compared to the day before the date of the enactment of this Act, in staffing, training, organization, and resources required for the Department to offer readjustment counseling and outpatient mental health care to members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces.

(5) Any challenges the Department has encountered in providing readjustment counseling and outpatient mental health care to members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces.

(b) Vet Center defined.—In this section, the term “Vet Center” has the meaning given that term in section 1712A(h) of title 38, United States Code.