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STEVE STIVERS

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Representatives Stivers, Loebsack Reintroduce “Sgt. Brandon Ketchum Never Again Act” to Address Veteran Suicide Epidemic

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Washington, February 6, 2017 | comments
Today, Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH-15) and Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA-02) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to ensure no veteran seeking in-patient psychiatric care at a Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center is ever denied such care again. The Sgt. Brandon Ketchum Never Again Act would require that when a veteran enrolled in the VA health care system requests at a VA Medical Center to be admitted for in-patient psychiatric care, the VA must provide that care for the veteran in the psychiatric ward of that Medical Center.
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Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH-15) and Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-IA-02) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to ensure no veteran seeking in-patient psychiatric care at a Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center is ever denied such care again. The Sgt. Brandon Ketchum Never Again Act would require that when a veteran enrolled in the VA health care system requests at a VA Medical Center to be admitted for in-patient psychiatric care, the VA must provide that care for the veteran in the psychiatric ward of that Medical Center.

“We face a devastating mental health crisis in this country, one that has particularly affected our veteran’s community,” Stivers said. “We owe it to our veterans to ensure they receive the care they need when they return home. I am proud to join Representative Loebsack in reintroducing this legislation because no veteran should ever be turned away when asking for in-patient psychiatric care.”

“I am proud to reintroduce the Sgt. Brandon Ketchum Never Again Act to ensure no veteran in crisis is ever turned away. This legislation would require VA Medical Centers to provide psychiatric care for any veteran that asks for it,” said Loebsack. “Our veterans have sacrificed too much to ever feel alone when struggling with mental health issues. When these veterans reach out, we as a country owe it to them to answer their call. I am proud to help honor Sgt. Ketchum’s life by working to ensure our veterans get the care they are seeking.”

Last year, Sgt. Brandon Ketchum, a veteran from Davenport, Iowa, was turned away from a VA facility after seeking psychiatric help. After being denied care, he tragically took his own life. Sgt. Ketchum’s tragic death reinforces the need for a change at the VA to ensure any veteran who is suffering from a mental health issue gets the treatment they need and deserve.

If there are not enough beds or providers at that location, the bill states that the VA must find care for the veteran at a non-VA facility. The bill would not prevent admissions as they currently operate – for example, if a veteran displays suicidal ideations but does not explicitly request to be admitted to the in-patient psychiatric ward, his or her doctor could still recommend admission – but rather would supplement existing policy.

For the full text of the bill, click here.

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Tags: Veterans