Text: H.R.3495 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/26/2019)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 3495 Introduced in House (IH)]

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116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 3495

   To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide financial 
assistance to eligible entities to provide and coordinate the provision 
  of suicide prevention services for veterans at risk of suicide and 
veteran families through the award of grants to such entities, and for 
                            other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             June 26, 2019

  Mr. Bergman (for himself and Ms. Houlahan) introduced the following 
     bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
   To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide financial 
assistance to eligible entities to provide and coordinate the provision 
  of suicide prevention services for veterans at risk of suicide and 
veteran families through the award of grants to such entities, 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 ``Improve Well-Being for Veterans 
Act''.

SEC. 2. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO CERTAIN ENTITIES TO PROVIDE AND 
              COORDINATE THE PROVISION OF SUICIDE PREVENTION SERVICES 
              FOR VETERANS AT RISK OF SUICIDE AND VETERAN FAMILIES.

    (a) Distribution of Financial Assistance.--The Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs shall provide financial assistance to eligible 
entities approved under this section through the award of grants to 
such entities to provide and coordinate the provision services to 
veterans and veteran families to reduce the risk of suicide.
    (b) Award of Grants.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary shall award a grant to each 
        eligible entity for which the Secretary has approved an 
        application under subsection (e) to provide or coordinate the 
        provision of suicide prevention services under this section.
            (2) Grant amounts, intervals of payment, and matching 
        funds.--In accordance with the services being provided under a 
        grant under this section and the duration of those services, 
        the Secretary may establish--
                    (A) a maximum amount to be awarded under the grant;
                    (B) intervals of payment for the administration of 
                the grant; and
                    (C) a requirement for the recipient of the grant to 
                provide matching funds in a specified percentage.
    (c) Distribution of Financial Assistance and Preference.--
            (1) Distribution.--
                    (A) Geographic.--The Secretary shall ensure that, 
                to the extent practicable and in compliance with 
                subparagraph (B), financial assistance under this 
                section is equitably distributed across geographic 
                regions, including rural communities and Tribal land.
                    (B) Areas with need.--The Secretary shall ensure 
                that, to the extent practicable, financial assistance 
                under this section is distributed--
                            (i) to provide services in areas of the 
                        United States that have experienced high rates 
                        or a high burden of veteran suicide; and
                            (ii) to eligible entities that can assist 
                        veterans at risk of suicide that are not 
                        currently receiving health care furnished by 
                        the Department of Veterans Affairs.
            (2) Preference.--The Secretary shall give preference in the 
        provision of financial assistance under this section to 
        eligible entities providing or coordinating, or who have 
        demonstrated the ability to provide or coordinate, suicide 
        prevention services or other services that improve the quality 
        of life of veterans and their families and reduce the factors 
        that contribute to veteran suicide.
    (d) Requirements for Receipts of Financial Assistance.--
            (1) Notification that services are from department.--Each 
        entity receiving financial assistance under this section to 
        provide suicide prevention services to veterans at risk of 
        suicide and veteran families shall notify the recipients of 
        such services that such services are being paid for, in whole 
        or in part, by the Department.
            (2) Development of plan with beneficiaries.--
                    (A) In general.--If an entity receiving financial 
                assistance under this section provides temporary cash 
                assistance under subsection (k)(5)(K), the entity shall 
                develop a plan to ensure that any beneficiary of such 
                temporary cash assistance is self-sustaining at the end 
                of the period of eligibility for such temporary cash 
                assistance.
                    (B) Consultation with beneficiary.--Any plan 
                developed under subparagraph (A) with respect to a 
                beneficiary shall be developed in consultation with the 
                beneficiary.
            (3) Reports.--The Secretary--
                    (A) shall require each entity receiving financial 
                assistance under this section to submit to the 
                Secretary an annual report that describes the projects 
                carried out with such financial assistance during the 
                year covered by the report;
                    (B) shall specify to each such entity the 
                evaluation criteria and data and information, which 
                shall include a mental health measurement of each 
                veteran served, to be submitted in such report; and
                    (C) may require such entities to submit to the 
                Secretary such additional reports as the Secretary 
                considers appropriate.
    (e) Application for Financial Assistance.--
            (1) In general.--An eligible entity seeking financial 
        assistance under this section shall submit to the Secretary an 
        application therefor in such form, in such manner, and 
        containing such commitments and information as the Secretary 
        considers necessary to carry out this section.
            (2) Matters to be included.--Each application submitted by 
        an eligible entity under paragraph (1) shall contain the 
        following:
                    (A) A description of the suicide prevention 
                services proposed to be provided by the eligible entity 
                and the identified need for those services.
                    (B) A detailed plan describing how the eligible 
                entity proposes to coordinate and deliver suicide 
                prevention services to veterans not currently receiving 
                care furnished by the Department, including--
                            (i) an identification of the community 
                        partners with which the eligible entity 
                        proposes to work in delivering such services;
                            (ii) a description of the arrangements 
                        currently in place between the eligible entity 
                        and such partners; and
                            (iii) an identification of how long such 
                        arrangements have been in place.
                    (C) A description of the types of veterans at risk 
                of suicide and veteran families proposed to be provided 
                suicide prevention services.
                    (D) An estimate of the number of veterans at risk 
                of suicide and veteran families proposed to be provided 
                suicide prevention services and the basis for such 
                estimate, including the percentage of those veterans 
                who are not currently receiving care furnished by the 
                Department.
                    (E) Evidence of the experience of the eligible 
                entity (and the proposed partners of the entity) in 
                providing suicide prevention services to individuals at 
                risk of suicide, particularly to veterans at risk of 
                suicide and veteran families.
                    (F) A description of the managerial and 
                technological capacity of the eligible entity--
                            (i) to coordinate the provision of suicide 
                        prevention services with the provision of other 
                        services;
                            (ii) to assess continuously the needs of 
                        veterans at risk of suicide and veteran 
                        families for suicide prevention services;
                            (iii) to coordinate the provision of 
                        suicide prevention services with the services 
                        of the Department for which the beneficiaries 
                        are eligible;
                            (iv) to tailor suicide prevention services 
                        to the needs of veterans at risk of suicide and 
                        veteran families;
                            (v) to continuously seek new sources of 
                        assistance to ensure the continuity of suicide 
                        prevention services for veterans at risk of 
                        suicide and veteran families as long as the 
                        veteran is determined to be at risk of suicide; 
                        and
                            (vi) to measure, over a long-term period, 
                        the improved mental resiliency and mental 
                        outlook of the veteran served.
                    (G) Such additional application criteria as the 
                Secretary considers appropriate.
    (f) Technical Assistance.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary shall provide training and 
        technical assistance to eligible entities in receipt of 
        financial assistance under this section regarding--
                    (A) the data required to be collected and shared 
                with the Department;
                    (B) the means of data collection and sharing;
                    (C) familiarization with and appropriate use of any 
                tool to be used to measure the effectiveness of the use 
                of the financial assistance provided; and
                    (D) the requirements for reporting under subsection 
                (d)(3) on services provided via such financial 
                assistance.
            (2) Provision of training and technical assistance.--The 
        Secretary may provide the training and technical assistance 
        described in paragraph (1) directly or through grants or 
        contracts with appropriate public or nonprofit entities.
    (g) Administration of Grant Program.--
            (1) Selection criteria.--The Secretary, in consultation 
        with entities specified in paragraph (3), shall establish 
        criteria for the selection of eligible entities that have 
        submitted applications under subsection (e).
            (2) Development of measures and metrics.--The Secretary 
        shall develop, in consultation with entities specified in 
        paragraph (3), the following:
                    (A) A framework for collecting and sharing 
                information about entities in receipt of financial 
                assistance under this section for purposes of improving 
                the discovery of services available for veterans at 
                risk of suicide and veteran families, set forth by 
                service type, locality, and eligibility criteria.
                    (B) The measures to be used by each entity in 
                receipt of financial assistance under this section to 
                determine the effectiveness of the programming being 
                provided by such entity in improving mental resiliency 
                and mental outlook of veterans at risk of suicide and 
                veteran families.
                    (C) Metrics for measuring the effectiveness of the 
                provision of financial assistance under this section.
            (3) Coordination.--In developing a plan for the design and 
        implementation of the provision of financial assistance under 
        this section, including criteria for the award of grants, the 
        Secretary shall consult with the following:
                    (A) Veterans service organizations.
                    (B) National organizations representing potential 
                community partners of eligible entities in providing 
                supportive services to address the needs of veterans at 
                risk of suicide and their families, including national 
                organizations that--
                            (i) advocate for the needs of individuals 
                        with or at risk of behavioral health 
                        conditions;
                            (ii) represent mayors;
                            (iii) represent first responders; or
                            (iv) represent chiefs of police and 
                        sheriffs.
                    (C) Organizations with which the Department has a 
                current memoranda of agreement or understanding related 
                to mental health or suicide prevention.
                    (D) State departments of veterans affairs.
                    (E) National organizations representing members of 
                the reserve components of the Armed Forces.
                    (F) Vet Centers.
                    (G) Organizations with experience in creating 
                measurement tools for purposes of determining 
                programmatic effectiveness.
                    (H) Such other organizations as the Secretary 
                considers appropriate.
            (4) Report on grant criteria.--Before notifying eligible 
        entities of the availability of funding under this section, the 
        Secretary shall submit to Congress a report containing--
                    (A) criteria for the award of a grant under this 
                section;
                    (B) the tool to be used by the Department to 
                measure the effectiveness of the use of financial 
                assistance provided under this section; and
                    (C) a framework for the sharing of information 
                about entities in receipt of financial assistance under 
                this section.
    (h) Information on Potential Beneficiaries.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary may make available to 
        recipients of financial assistance under this section certain 
        information regarding potential beneficiaries of services for 
        which such financial assistance is provided.
            (2) Information included.--The information made available 
        under paragraph (1) with respect to potential beneficiaries may 
        include the following:
                    (A) Confirmation of the status of a potential 
                beneficiary as a veteran.
                    (B) Confirmation of whether a potential beneficiary 
                is currently receiving care furnished by the Department 
                or has recently received such care.
    (i) Duration.--The authority of the Secretary to provide financial 
assistance under this section shall terminate on the date that is three 
years after the date on which the first grant is awarded under this 
section.
    (j) Reporting.--
            (1) Interim report.--
                    (A) In general.--Not later than 18 months after the 
                date on which the first grant is awarded under this 
                section, the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate 
                committees of Congress a report on the provision of 
                financial assistance under this section.
                    (B) Elements.--The report submitted under 
                subparagraph (A) shall include the following:
                            (i) An assessment of the effectiveness of 
                        the provision of financial assistance under 
                        this section, including the effectiveness of 
                        community partners in conducting outreach to 
                        veterans at risk of suicide and veteran 
                        families.
                            (ii) A list of grant recipients and their 
                        partner organizations that delivered services 
                        funded by the grant and the amount of such 
                        grant received by each recipient and partner 
                        organization.
                            (iii) The number of veterans supported by 
                        each grant recipient, including through 
                        services provided to family members.
                            (iv) The number of veterans supported by 
                        financial assistance under this section, 
                        including through services provided to family 
                        members.
                            (v) The number of veterans supported by 
                        financial assistance under this section, 
                        including through services provided to family 
                        members, who were not previously receiving care 
                        furnished by the Department.
                            (vi) The number of veterans whose mental 
                        resiliency and mental outlook received a 
                        baseline measurement assessment under this 
                        section and the number of such veterans whose 
                        mental resiliency and mental outlook will be 
                        measured by the Department or a community 
                        partner over a period of time.
                            (vii) The types of data the Department was 
                        able to collect and share with partners, 
                        including a characterization of the benefits of 
                        that data.
            (2) Final report.--Not later than three years after the 
        date on which the first grant is awarded under this section, 
        the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of 
        Congress--
                    (A) a follow-up on the interim report submitted 
                under paragraph (1) containing the elements set forth 
                in subparagraph (B) of such paragraph; and
                    (B) a report on--
                            (i) the effectiveness of the provision of 
                        financial assistance under this section, 
                        including the effectiveness of community 
                        partners in conducting outreach to veterans at 
                        risk of suicide and veteran families;
                            (ii) an assessment of the increased 
                        capacity of the Department to provide services 
                        to veterans at risk of suicide and veteran 
                        families, set forth by State, as a result of 
                        the provision of financial assistance under 
                        this section; and
                            (iii) the feasibility and advisability of 
                        extending or expanding the provision of 
                        financial assistance under this section.
    (k) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Appropriate committees of congress.--The term 
        ``appropriate committees of Congress'' means--
                    (A) the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the 
                Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans 
                Affairs, and Related Agencies of the Committee on 
                Appropriations of the Senate; and
                    (B) the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the 
                Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans 
                Affairs, and Related Agencies of the Committee on 
                Appropriations of the House of Representatives.
            (2) Eligible entity.--The term ``eligible entity'' means--
                    (A) an incorporated private institution or 
                foundation--
                            (i) no part of the net earnings of which 
                        incurs to the benefit of any member, founder, 
                        contributor, or individual;
                            (ii) that has a governing board that would 
                        be responsible for the operation of the suicide 
                        prevention services provided under this 
                        section; and
                            (iii) that is approved by the Secretary as 
                        to financial responsibility;
                    (B) a corporation wholly owned and controlled by an 
                organization meeting the requirements of clauses (i), 
                (ii), and (iii) of subparagraph (A);
                    (C) a tribally designated housing entity (as 
                defined in section 4 of the Native American Housing 
                Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 (25 
                U.S.C. 4103)); or
                    (D) a community-based organization that is 
                physically based in the targeted community and that can 
                effectively network with local civic organizations, 
                regional health systems, and other settings where 
                veterans at risk of suicide and the families of such 
                veterans are likely to have contact.
            (3) Peer specialist.--The term ``peer specialist'' means a 
        person eligible to be appointed as a peer specialist under 
        section 7402(b)(13) of title 38, United States Code.
            (4) Risk of suicide.--The term ``risk of suicide'' means 
        exposure to or the existence of any of the following:
                    (A) Health risk factors, including the following:
                            (i) Mental health challenges.
                            (ii) Substance abuse.
                            (iii) Serious or chronic health conditions 
                        or pain.
                            (iv) Traumatic brain injury.
                    (B) Environmental risk factors, including the 
                following:
                            (i) Access to lethal means (such as drugs, 
                        firearms, etc.).
                            (ii) Prolonged stress.
                            (iii) Stressful life events.
                            (iv) Exposure to the suicide of another 
                        person or to graphic or sensationalized 
                        accounts of suicide.
                            (v) Unemployment.
                            (vi) Homelessness.
                            (vii) Recent loss.
                            (viii) Legal or financial challenges.
                    (C) Historical risk factors, including the 
                following:
                            (i) Previous suicide attempts.
                            (ii) Family history of suicide.
                            (iii) History of abuse, neglect, or trauma.
            (5) Suicide prevention services.--The term ``suicide 
        prevention services'' means services to address the needs of 
        veterans at risk of suicide and veteran families and includes 
        the following:
                    (A) Outreach to identify veterans at risk of 
                suicide, with an emphasis on veterans who are at 
                highest risk or not receiving health care or other 
                services furnished by the Department.
                    (B) A baseline mental health assessment for risk 
                screening and referral to care.
                    (C) Education on suicide risk and prevention to 
                families and communities.
                    (D) Direct treatment.
                    (E) Medication management.
                    (F) Individual and group therapy.
                    (G) Case management services.
                    (H) Peer support services.
                    (I) Assistance in obtaining any benefits from the 
                Department that the veteran at risk of suicide or 
                veteran family may be eligible to receive, including--
                            (i) vocational and rehabilitation 
                        counseling;
                            (ii) supportive services for homeless 
                        veterans;
                            (iii) employment and training services;
                            (iv) educational assistance; and
                            (v) health care services.
                    (J) Assistance in obtaining and coordinating the 
                provision of other benefits provided by the Federal 
                Government, a State or local government, or an eligible 
                entity.
                    (K) Temporary cash assistance (not to exceed 6 
                months) to assist with emergent needs relating to--
                            (i) health care services;
                            (ii) daily living services;
                            (iii) personal financial planning;
                            (iv) transportation services;
                            (v) temporary income support services;
                            (vi) fiduciary and representative payee 
                        services;
                            (vii) legal services to assist the veteran 
                        family with issues that may contribute to the 
                        risk of suicide of the veteran; and
                            (viii) child care (not to exceed $5,000 per 
                        veteran family per fiscal year).
                    (L) Such other services necessary for improving the 
                resiliency of veterans at risk of suicide and veteran 
                families as the Secretary considers appropriate, which 
                may include--
                            (i) adaptive sports or in-place 
                        recreational therapy;
                            (ii) substance use reduction programming;
                            (iii) individual, group, or family 
                        counseling; and
                            (iv) relationship coaching.
            (6) Vet center.--The term ``Vet Center'' means a center for 
        readjustment counseling and related mental health services for 
        veterans under section 1712A of title 38, United States Code.
            (7) Veteran.--The term ``veteran'' has the meaning given 
        that term in section 101 of title 38, United States Code.
            (8) Veteran family.--The term ``veteran family'' means, 
        with respect to a veteran at risk of suicide, any of the 
        following:
                    (A) A parent.
                    (B) A spouse.
                    (C) A child.
                    (D) A sibling.
                    (E) A step-family member.
                    (F) An extended family member.
                    (G) Any other individual who lives with the 
                veteran.
            (9) Veterans service organization.--The term ``veterans 
        service organization'' means any organization recognized by the 
        Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the representation of 
        veterans included as part of the annually updated list at 
        https://www.va.gov/vso/ or a successor website.
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