Montana VA Expands Behavioral Health Care to Serve Highly Rural Veterans

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - As part of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, $17 billion of that could be going to help veterans around the nation. 

The House Veterans' Affairs Committee cleared seven key provisions to help provide some much needed COVID-19 Relief that would fund the Department of Veteran Affairs. 

The goal with these provisions in this bill is to help deliver assistance and vaccines to our vets. 

We're told there are several ways that could happen, including: 

  1. $272 million for VA to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on the benefits claims and appeals backlog.
  2. $13.5 billion for VA to provide health care services and related support to eligible veterans, including COVID-19 vaccine distribution, expanded mental health care, enhanced telehealth capabilities, extended support for veterans who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, and PPE and supplies for clinical employees.
  3. $100 million for accelerated deployment of VA’s supply chain modernization initiative to improve the Department’s preparedness and response to public health emergencies. 
  4. $750 million for VA to support COVID-19 response, staff and veteran safety, and preparedness at State Veterans Homes through one-time payments to support operations and additional construction grants to support shovel-ready projects.
  5. $10 million for the VA Office of Inspector General to provide oversight.
  6. $386 million for up to 12 months of retraining assistance for veterans who are unemployed due to COVID-19 and do not have other veteran education benefits.
  7. Language delivering VA health care copayment relief by waiving medical debts and billing during the pandemic, as well as costs for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination services at the Department.

Right now, the bill is waiting on a house vote. If it passes, it will head to the senate. 

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