Press Releases

Rose Introduces Bill to Address Troubling Trend of Veteran Suicides on VA Campuses

Congressman’s effort would require VA to provide data, information to Congress in order to address veteran suicides

Washington, April 18, 2019
Tags: Veterans

Congressman Max Rose, an Army combat veteran and former non-profit healthcare executive, is introducing legislation today aimed at addressing the troubling trend of veterans dying by suicide on Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) campuses. Just this month, it’s been reported that three veterans have committed suicide at VA facilities.

“It’s imperative that we receive not only basic information from the VA, but substantive data on this rising trend of veterans committing suicide at VA facilities,” said Rose, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Getting this data more quickly and thoroughly would guide Congress’ efforts in understanding this crisis, and preventing these tragedies. We must ensure all veterans have the services they need when they need them, plain and simple.”

“Veteran suicide is a national public health crisis that we need to address—that’s why the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs has made it a top priority,” said Rep. Mark Takano, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. “Congress can help develop a response to these tragedies, but we have to know what’s happening. I’m proud to support this bill to ensure Congress gets the data it needs as quickly as possible so we can work together to prevent these incidents and give veterans in crisis the support they desperately need.”

Rose’s legislation is a key effort in response to recent tragedies of veterans committing suicide on VA campuses. Congress has found that VA is not always forthcoming with timely information around these events. Having key data points which this legislation requires from VA would help Congress fully understand the scope of this crisis to better serve our veterans in need.

The legislation would require VA to provide notice to Congress of the suicide or attempted suicide and the name of the facility and location where the suicide or attempted suicide occurred no later than seven days after the incident. Additionally, the legislation would require VA to provide notice to Congress within no more than 60 days of the incident the following information regarding the veteran who committed or attempted to commit suicide:

  • the enrollment status of the veteran with respect to the patient enrollment system of the Department;
  • the most recent encounter between the veteran and any employee or facility of the Veterans Health Administration before the suicide or attempted suicide occurred;
  • whether the veteran had private medical insurance;
  • the Armed Force and time period in which the veteran served;
  • the age, marital, employment, and housing statuses of the veteran; and
  • confirmation that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has provided notice to the immediate family members of the veteran regarding any Department support or assistance for which such family members may be eligible.

Rose, who serves on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, has called on the Department of Defense to change the policy that leads to servicemembers and veterans on Staten Island receiving hundreds of dollars less per month for housing than the other four boroughs. Additionally, Rose passed legislation through the House of Representatives to expand childcare coverage from VA to apply to veterans seeking treatment for addiction and joined a bipartisan meeting with the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs at the White House to discuss priorities and challenges facing VA.

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