A bill to expand mental health care for veterans has cleared a first hurdle in the Senate, but Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly says he‘ll try to pass it a second time.
The Armed Services Committee sent the mental-health bill to the floor last week as part of a national defense bill. But Donnelly says he‘ll seek to tuck it into a second bill in the Veterans Affairs Committee, to give it two opportunities to move through the House.
The bill authored by Donnelly (D) and Iowa Republican Joni Ernst would give veterans and their families access to local providers for help with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental-health issues linked to their service. It also calls for training for local centers to help them understand the unique issues veterans deal with.
Indiana has V-A hospitals in Indy, Fort Wayne and Marion, and outpatient clinics in 15 more cities.
But Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly says the flow of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is too great for the V-A to handle alone. And he says servicemembers should have access to mental-health care within their communities.