Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin says Congress needs to act quickly to extend a program aimed at widening veterans’ access to private-sector health care, pointing to a growing demand for medical treatment outside the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Shulkin also pledged additional efforts by his agency to combat suicide, saying he wanted to expand mental health care to former service members who receive “other than honorable discharges” from the military, typically for behavior problems such as violence or use of illegal drugs. Shulkin did not release specific details, but said the VA will act on its own to expand coverage without waiting for legislation. Pentagon data has indicated that thousands of service members have had such discharges in recent years.
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