Secretary Wilkie Applauds President Trump for Signing Suicide Prevention Bill

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie released the following statement after President Trump signed into law the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act this weekend.
“This legislation moves America closer to a goal that all citizens can support: increasing the local resources available to our men and women who answered the call to defend this Nation. This law will expand mental health care services at VA facilities and at the same time provide grants to make it easier for Veterans to access non-VA resources in their communities.
“Care in the community is a critical component of our effort to end Veteran suicide. About 60 percent of the Veterans who die by suicide aren’t getting care from VA, so it’s vital we do all we can to offer intervention and care to Veterans where they live. This bill takes a strong and meaningful step in that direction.”
Senators Hoeven and Cramer (R-ND), along with Congressmen Armstrong (R-ND), Biggs (R-AZ), Buck (R-CO), and Murphy (R-NC) and ultimately the vast majority of colleagues in the House and Senate, were instrumental in securing passage.
Senator Hoeven pointed to Section 702, a provision to Expand the VA’s research into HBOT. This requires the VA to study and report on the effectiveness of this alternative treatment option in partnership with private organizations, a provision offered by Senator Cramer.
Earlier, the North Dakota delegation announced that the VA agreed to expand and extend the Fargo VA’s participation in its Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) clinical demonstration program and increase the number of veterans who can be referred for this alternative treatment option for post-traumatic stress (PTS). The program is being extended through September 30, 2021, expanded to allow veterans to be treated at Jamestown Regional Medical Center and increasing to allow more veterans to be served.
Fargo was selected as the fifth location for the VA’s HBOT demonstration program last year. The HBOT program provides veterans with PTS in North Dakota and western Minnesota, who have yet to experience positive outcomes from other treatments, access to HBOT through a partnership between the Fargo VA and Healing with Hyperbarics, a Fargo-based facility, and now with Jamestown Regional Medical Center.
I worked to include North Dakota in this pilot program to give veterans who have yet to experience positive outcomes with access to this additional treatment option for PTS. Providing our veterans with this option is part of our efforts to ensure our men and women in uniform receive the high quality care they deserve.”
To date, all veterans who have been referred to the Pilot and completed the requisite HBOT treatment have shown significant medical improvement.