Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced a bill that would create a mobile system to bring Veterans Affairs physicians, nurses and caseworkers to rural communities for at least 48 hours at a time.
Co-sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Mobile Support for Rural Veterans measure would establish a pilot program for the system. The system would provide a wide range of services, including counseling and education on how to access VA healthcare, educational, pension or other benefits; assistance in completing the necessary paperwork for enrollment; prescriptions for veterans who suffer from acute or chronic injuries or illnesses; regular mental health screenings to identify potential mental-health disorders; job-placement assistance; and bereavement counseling to families of service members killed in action. The bill has been referred to the Veterans Affairs Committee, according to a spokesman in Klobuchars office.
Separately, Klobuchar introduced a bill to expand and ensure access to mental health services for the families of deployed National Guard and Reserve soldiers. The legislation would require Tricare plans to cover mental healthcare or substance-abuse treatment at any state-accredited facility enrolled for family members of deployed National Guard and Reserve members. Tricare is the military health system of the Defense Department. (For more on veterans struggling to find care in rural areas, please see the story Medicine off the battlefield.)-- by Jessica Zigmond
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