Yakym Introduces Legislation to Improve Mental Healthcare Access for Veterans

Feb 29, 2024

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Rudy Yakym introduced H.R. 7464, the Sergeant Ted Grubbs Mental Healthcare for Disabled Veterans Act. This legislation requires the VA to lower their Designated Access Standards to five days for mental healthcare for veterans that have a disability rating above 50 percent for a mental health disorder.

Rep. Yakym’s bill is named after retired Sergeant Ted Grubbs, a veteran and Second District constituent who was diagnosed with service-connected complex post-traumatic stress disorder and complex traumatic brain injury after returning from duty. In the wake of a mental health crisis Sergeant Grubbs experienced last year that required prompt, in-person follow-up appointments, Sergeant Grubbs was told by the VA that the soonest in-person appointment they could offer was more than two months away.

“Veterans like Sergeant Ted Grubbs represent the best of America – the very least we can do is make sure they get the help they need in a timely manner, especially when it comes to addressing mental health challenges,” said Congressman Yakym. “I am proud to lead this effort on behalf of Ted and countless veterans like him to make sure we give those who served more timely options for mental healthcare.”

“Community care is a vitally important part of ensuring veterans have access to the healthcare that works best for them,” said House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Bost. “House Republicans come from rural America, and we understand firsthand that veterans can’t be driving 2-3 hours for a simple doctor’s appointment. VA’s community care program creates that bridge. I look forward to working with my colleague, Congressman Yakym, to ensure we protect access to this healthcare program for our nation’s heroes.”

“As a County Veteran Service Officer, I have seen firsthand the negative repercussions of slow response times for many of the veterans in my county for mental health screening and assistance,” said Miami County Veteran Service Officer Jay Kendall. “This legislation addresses those problems and would increase the delivery of timely mental heath assistance.”

“Rep. Yakym’s legislation will help veterans with acute mental health challenges receive care more quickly than they are currently, which in itself will go a long way towards preventing these veterans from reaching the point of crisis in the first place,” said Marshall County Veteran Service Officer Pam Schweizer-Betz.

Click HERE to read Rep. Yakym’s op-ed on his legislation in the South Bend Tribune, and HERE to see WNDU’s coverage of the legislation.

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