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house Bill H.R. 2359

Should the VA Report to Congress on its Holistic Mental Health Programming for Veterans?

Argument in favor

Mental and holistic health care for veterans is badly needed: 20 veterans die by suicide every day — an unconscionably high number. The VA needs to be held accountable for the mental health and holistic care it’s providing to veterans; reporting to Congress is one mechanism to ensure this accountability.

burrkitty's Opinion
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05/21/2019
We owe our veterans for being willing pawns in all our unconstitutional wars. Get them everything they need, including cannabis and service animals, but more importantly STOP ALL THE U.S. WARMONGERING.
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Kodiwodi's Opinion
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05/21/2019
I’m sure that includes herb therapy and animal therapy as well right? They should have EVERY RESOURCE made available to them despite the current federal law or cost. If marijuana and support animals aren’t included, they should be.
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SneakyPete's Opinion
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05/20/2019
(VETERAN) House Bill H.R. 2359 AKA the “Whole Veteran Act” I strongly recommend and support the passage of House Bill H.R. 2359 AKA the “Whole Veteran Act” which would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to submit a report to the Congress on the availability of alternative treatments (such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and chiropractic care) at VA medical facilities. On the basis of information about the cost of complying with similar reporting requirements, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost less than $500,000 over the 2020-2024 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds. SneakyPete......... 👍🏻👍🏻HR.2359👍🏻👍🏻. 5.20.19.......
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Argument opposed

The VA is already systematically rolling its Whole Health program out across the VA health care system. Rather than diverting resources away from this important initiative to create the report this bill would mandate, it’d be better to let the VA focus on expanding and enhancing the Whole Health program to reach as many veterans as possible.

Deidre's Opinion
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05/22/2019
Paperwork is already in place to admit and care for our vets. All that’s necessary is computer tally of services rendered and to whom. Add additional admin staff for IT and leave this project to medical staff.
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William 's Opinion
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05/22/2019
It’s non of anyone’s business except the veterans and their doctors.!
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Jackie's Opinion
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05/22/2019
I’m a disabled veteran. Congress needs to stay out of the VA business. You can’t keep the congress healthy because if you did there wouldn’t be so many mentally disturbed people in congress.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Health
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedApril 25th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2359?

This bill — the Whole Veteran Act — would require Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide Congress with information regarding the accessibility and availability of components of Whole Health programs at VA facilities including massage, chiropractic services, whole health clinician services and coaching, acupuncture, healing touch, whole health group services, guided imagery, mediation and yoga, among other holistic treatments.

The report would also include: 1) an assessment of the health outcomes derived from the listed services, 2) an assessment of the resources required to expand such services to the entire VA, and 3) a plan to provide to services listed above to veterans in areas without a community-based outpatient clinic, medical center, Vet Center, or community living center.

Impact

Veterans; veterans’ mental health care; holistic care for veterans; VA; VA Whole Health program; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2359

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost less than $500,000 over the 2020-2024 period.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) introduced this bill to require the Veterans Administration (VA) to provide Congress with information regarding VA’s Whole Health Program and thereby ensure that all necessary tools are available to veterans for their individual mental health needs:

“As a nation, we share a deep concern regarding the high rate of veteran suicide across the country. Physical, emotional, and mental health needs are all interconnected, and it is essential that Whole Health programs and treatments focus on the whole veteran instead of concentrating on an isolated condition.  This legislation will help identify the current gaps in availability so the VA, along with Congress, can take the adequate steps to improve the mental health and well-being of all our veterans no matter where they live.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) adds:

“Twenty veterans die by suicide every day in the United States.  That’s unacceptable. Some of the wounds our veterans face aren’t always visible, so we need to do a better job of providing them with the mental health resources and tools needed to get on the path to recovery. The Whole Veteran Act will advance our efforts to ensure critical Whole Health programs—including chiropractic services, whole health group services, meditation, and yoga—are available and accessible at every VA facility.  Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country. We owe it to them to provide the care they need when they return home.”

House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) says:

“If we're serious about reducing veteran suicide, we must provide veterans access to programs that promote overall mental health and wellness. That’s why I’m proud to support Congressman Lamb’s bill that will ensure VA’s holistic health care programming is available and accessible for our veterans regardless of where they live.”

This bill passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee with the support of two bipartisan cosponsors, Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).


Of NoteThe VA’s Whole Health program is a holistic approach to the multiple areas of life that can affect veterans’ health. This includes their work environment, relationships, diet, sleep patterns, and more. As of March 15, 2018, there were 19 facilities designated VA Whole Health Flagship Sites:

  • VA Boston Health Care System
  • VA New Jersey Health Care System (East Orange)
  • Erie VA Medical Center (VAMC)  (Pennsylvania)
  • Beckley VAMC (West Virginia)
  • W. G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center (Salisbury, North Carolina)
  • Atlanta VAMC  
  • Tampa VAMC (Florida)
  • Tennessee Valley Health Care System (Nashville and Murfreesboro)
  • Aleda E. Lutz VAMC  (Saginaw, Michigan)
  • Tomah VAMC   (Wisconsin)
  • St. Louis VA Health Care System (Missouri)
  • Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (Little Rock)
  • South Texas Veterans Health Care System (San Antonio)
  • Salt Lake City VAMC
  • VA Portland Health Care System (Oregon)
  • Palo Alto VAMC (Livermore, California)
  • Tucson VAMC  (Arizona)
  • VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System (Omaha, Nebraska)

In addition to the VA flagship sites, the following facilities are Whole Health Design Sites, which are focused on implementing specific elements of the Whole Health System and/or expanding their existing efforts to implement a more comprehensive Whole Health capability:

  • Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford, Massachusetts)
  • Birmingham Alabama VAMC
  • Central California VA Health Care System (Fresno)
  • Cincinnati VAMC
  • John D. Dingell VAMC (Detroit, Michigan)
  • Fargo VA Health Care System (North, Dakota)
  • Kansas City VAMC (Missouri)
  • William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital (Madison, Wisconsin)
  • Manchester VAMC (New Hampshire)
  • Mountain Home VAMC (Tennessee)
  • Royal C. Johnson Veterans Memorial Medical Center (Sioux Falls, South Dakota)
  • Syracuse VAMC (New York)
  • West Palm Beach VA Medical Center (Florida)

In 2017, the following facilities were Whole Health Design Sites. Those with asterisks were later designated as Whole Health System Flagship Sites:

  • Baltimore VAMC
  • Central Arkansas Health Care System* (Little Rock)
  • Durham VAMC (North Carolina)
  • VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  • VA Hudson Valley Health Care System (Montrose, New York)
  • Iowa City VA Health Care System
  • Minneapolis VA Health Care System
  • VA Portland Health Care System*
  • San Francisco VA Health Care System
  • VA St. Louis Health Care System*
  • Tomah VAMC*

In 2016, the following facilities were Whole Health Design Sites. Those with asterisks were later designated as Whole Health System Flagship Sites:

  • VA Boston Healthcare System*
  • Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (Biloxi, Mississippi)
  • VA North Texas Health Care System/Plano Community Based Outpatient Clinic (Plano, Texas)
  • Washington DC VAMC Jesse Brown VAMC (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Harry S. Truman Memorial (Columbia, Missouri)
  • W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center (Salisbury, North Carolina)*

In addition to the Whole Health flagship and design sites, all VA medical centers (VAMCs) offer an Introduction to Whole Health learning opportunity for transitioning service members, family members and currently enrolled Veterans.

Congress and the VA are under increasing pressure to address veteran mental health and suicide due to four veteran suicides at VA facilities in April 2019 alone, as well as the unchanging rate of 20 veteran suicides per day.

The Washington Post reports that veterans are 1.5 times as likely as civilians to die by suicide, after adjusting for age and gender. The VA reports that in 2016, the veteran suicide rate was 26.1 per 100,000, versus 17.4 per 100,000 for non-veteran adults.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / KatarzynaBialasiewicz)

AKA

Whole Veteran Act

Official Title

To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit to Congress a report on the Department of Veterans Affairs advancing of whole health transformation.

    We owe our veterans for being willing pawns in all our unconstitutional wars. Get them everything they need, including cannabis and service animals, but more importantly STOP ALL THE U.S. WARMONGERING.
    Like (14)
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    I’m sure that includes herb therapy and animal therapy as well right? They should have EVERY RESOURCE made available to them despite the current federal law or cost. If marijuana and support animals aren’t included, they should be.
    Like (9)
    Follow
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    (VETERAN) House Bill H.R. 2359 AKA the “Whole Veteran Act” I strongly recommend and support the passage of House Bill H.R. 2359 AKA the “Whole Veteran Act” which would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to submit a report to the Congress on the availability of alternative treatments (such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and chiropractic care) at VA medical facilities. On the basis of information about the cost of complying with similar reporting requirements, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost less than $500,000 over the 2020-2024 period; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds. SneakyPete......... 👍🏻👍🏻HR.2359👍🏻👍🏻. 5.20.19.......
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    Help our veterans
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    Yes! Now let’s expand these programs to the U.S. population in general! Suicide rates across the United States are up! We desperately need better mental health services for everyone!
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    You used us, now complete us.
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    A DEMOCRAT INTRODUCED THIS BILL, SO I TRUST THAT IT HAS THE GENUINE GOOD FOR VETERANS AT HEART!
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    Always vote for veterans and increasing transparency of the program provided.
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    Any program that assists veterans has my full support.
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    Most definitely. Our veterans deserve the best health care this country can provide, the problem is they don't "provide" it. They need to seek alternative medical treatments for our veterans, since it's clearly been proven that the drugs they're using to treat our vets aren't working. We need to do more for our vets and I truly hope our lawmakers are paying attention and will do something worthwhile for a change.
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    Paperwork is already in place to admit and care for our vets. All that’s necessary is computer tally of services rendered and to whom. Add additional admin staff for IT and leave this project to medical staff.
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    let’s fix these ppl we’ve broken by unnecessary war activity.
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    As a veteran who uses some holistic components of the VA in my life, I would hesitate sending data to Congress. The reason is that some Congressmen and Senators, being fundamentalist in their beliefs would compare these practices with witchcraft and other techniques that would defy their narrow beliefs. We do not need them sitting down in their little religious cliques criticizing or attempting to get rid of very effective tools that have helped many veterans, some with intense cases of PTSD and psychological and substance abuse problems that are being treated effectively with holistic tools. As veterans, we don’t want those that don’t understand veterans and their problems to start tampering with effective treatment.
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    YES! If there’s a veteran that’s honorably served this country and needs this help to get well, let’s do it. If a veteran can learn yoga and meditation at the VA, he or she can practice at home or possibly elsewhere in their community. This makes that person more self-sufficient and just might help them feel a little less isolated. I’m all for this.
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    How about this report be published to the Veteran Community and if the knuckleheads in Congress want to read it they can.
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    I’m a disabled veteran. Congress needs to stay out of the VA business. You can’t keep the congress healthy because if you did there wouldn’t be so many mentally disturbed people in congress.
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    The VA has a history of failing our vets and Congress should conduct oversight.
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    It’s non of anyone’s business except the veterans and their doctors.!
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    Also, impeach Trump
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    This really depends though, if it is to control the agency then no. If it is just to provide a checks and balances reporting system then yes.
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