Free emergency health care for veterans in crisis now available

Veteran PTSD

Veterans in acute suicidal crisis can now get emergency health care for free, according to the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs. And they can get the benefit even if they aren’t enrolled in VA health care.

Those veterans can now go to any VA or non-VA health care facility at no cost. That includes inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days or outpatient care for up to 90 days.

The VA says this expansion will increase access to acute suicide care for up to 9 million veterans who are not currently enrolled in the VA system.

RELATED: ‘It’s OK to ask for help’: Oregon’s 988 mental health crisis line launches

The VA says the new financial policy, which took effect Tuesday, allows it to do the following:

  • Provide, pay for, or reimburse for treatment of eligible individuals’ emergency suicide care, transportation costs, and follow-up care at a VA or non-VA facility for up to 30 days of inpatient care and 90 days of outpatient care.
  • Make appropriate referrals for care following the period of emergency suicide care.
  • Determine eligibility for other VA services and benefits.
  • Refer eligible individuals for appropriate VA programs and benefits following the period of emergency suicide care.

Eligible individuals, regardless of VA enrollment status, are:

  • Veterans who were discharged or released from active duty after more than 24 months of active service under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former members of the armed forces, including reserve service members, who served more than 100 days under a combat exclusion or in support of a contingency operation either directly or by operating an unmanned aerial vehicle from another location who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former members of the armed forces who were the victim of a physical assault of a sexual nature, a battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment while serving in the armed forces.

Veterans who are struggling can call 988, then press 1, anytime to reach Oregon’s crisis line.


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