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house Bill H.R. 4173

Should the VA Study the Effectiveness of the Veterans Crisis Line?

Argument in favor

The VA should study the effectiveness of the Veterans Crisis Line to find ways to improve its delivery of mental health services to our nation’s heroes. This is a commonsense, bipartisan bill.

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11/08/2017
Any organization that provides advisory services should be continually monitored for its overall effectiveness. This would include a QA/QC program that reviews employee performance, as well as program performance and has written policies that identify when appropriate actions shall be taken to address concerns and issues. What I do not understand, is why it would cost so much to analyze the practices of this program. Maybe considering the overall VA budget, this cost would be negligible.
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Rebecca 's Opinion
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11/08/2017
The VA should absolutely be studying the calls. How else can you determine its effectiveness?
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JasonB's Opinion
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11/08/2017
I am all for supporting the health of our veterans. And this bill does address an obvious need within the system. But the entire VA system needs an overhaul and congress needs to provide the necessary funds to get he VA up and running properly. With the current budget process, congress should reallocate enough money from the bloated defense budget to the VA and ensure that al of our veterans receive the care that they need.
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Argument opposed

There’s no need for the VA to study the outcomes and effectiveness of the Veterans Crisis Line, they can find ways to improve the crisis line without carrying out a study.

Vincent's Opinion
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11/08/2017
They need a study to correct this? They don't already know? C'mon. I want to make sure the veterans are served well as much as anyone but this sounds like pork to me.
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SEHaase's Opinion
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11/08/2017
Government studies are a waste of taxpayer money. Simply require the agency to do it’s job.
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Shannon's Opinion
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11/09/2017
Money should be allocated to strategic planning, to improve the hotline. They have the feedback they need to identify problems.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house Passed November 8th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 420 Yea / 0 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedOctober 31st, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 4173?

This bill would require the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct a study on the outcomes and efficacy of the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) during the five-year period beginning January 1, 2014 based on an analysis of national suicide data and data collected from the line. The VCL provides a free and confidential service to veterans, and their friends and families.

The study would address:

  • The efficacy of the VCL in leading veterans to sustained mental health regimens and suicide prevention;

  • The VCL’s visibility;

  • The role of the VCL as part of the VA’s mental healthcare services;

  • Whether receiving sustained mental healthcare affects suicidality, including among veterans who are at high risk for suicide.

Impact

The Veterans Crisis Line; and the VA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4173

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost $1 million over the 2018-2022 period.

More Information

In-DepthThis legislation passed the House Veterans Affairs Committee on a voice vote and has the support of 14 bipartisan cosponsors, including nine Republicans and five Democrats.


Of NoteIn September 2017, the VA released a report which found that after adjusting for differences in age and sex, risk for suicide was 22 percent higher among veterans when compared to non-veteran adults. Female veterans had a suicide risk that’s 2.5 times higher than non-veteran adult women. VA Secretary David Shulkin said of the study:

“These findings are deeply concerning, which is why I made suicide prevention my top clinical priority. I am committed to reducing veteran suicides through support and education. We know that of the 20 suicides a day that we reported last year, 14 are not under VA care. This is a national public health issue that requires a concerted, national approach.”


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz / iStock)

AKA

Veterans Crisis Line Study Act of 2017

Official Title

To direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a study on the Veterans Crisis Line.

    Any organization that provides advisory services should be continually monitored for its overall effectiveness. This would include a QA/QC program that reviews employee performance, as well as program performance and has written policies that identify when appropriate actions shall be taken to address concerns and issues. What I do not understand, is why it would cost so much to analyze the practices of this program. Maybe considering the overall VA budget, this cost would be negligible.
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    They need a study to correct this? They don't already know? C'mon. I want to make sure the veterans are served well as much as anyone but this sounds like pork to me.
    Like (17)
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    The VA should absolutely be studying the calls. How else can you determine its effectiveness?
    Like (27)
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    Why haven't they done this already?
    Like (23)
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    I am all for supporting the health of our veterans. And this bill does address an obvious need within the system. But the entire VA system needs an overhaul and congress needs to provide the necessary funds to get he VA up and running properly. With the current budget process, congress should reallocate enough money from the bloated defense budget to the VA and ensure that al of our veterans receive the care that they need.
    Like (15)
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    Government studies are a waste of taxpayer money. Simply require the agency to do it’s job.
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    This bill will just ask for an analysis of the data collected since 2014 through 2019 on how the crisis line is working.
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    As a veteran I say yes, but I'm willing to bet any data relating to suicide by a firearm (which will be the method of choice) will be deleted which would be wrong. If a study is going to be made it needs to be comprehensive and used to improve the program.
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    Yes! We need to assess what is working and effective. Otherwise research new methods. And do continuous quality improvement assessments to tweak or replace any of the programs we are using to support our veterans mental health. I feel like we created their issues by putting the in harms way and asking them to kill or be killed. There is nothing more brave, selfless and true than our warriors and veteran warriors. We need to return their sacrifice by loving them, caring for them and providing world class healthcare for them. We are the wealthiest country in the world. We are also the most powerful thanks to our military personal whether active or retired.
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    Quality is a huge part of any service & that requires continuous evaluation and improvement measures. For some reason we are under the impression our veterans don't deserve the same quality as everyone else- to me they deserve the best.
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    Voting yes because the cost is only $1 million, which seems like nothing compared to how much we spend on our military (which leads to the need for things like the Veterans Crisis Line). But I’m honestly not sure this is what we need to focus on if we want to get Veterans support that reduces suicide. Only 3 in 10 Veteran suicides are among those who are actively using VA services. Not that they have to be using services to use the Crisis Line, but because 7 in 10 Veterans suicide are happening in the community, perhaps there is a bigger picture issue that needs studying? Like whether our communities are built in a way that supports Veterans at risk for suicide? Or supports people like our Veterans in general for that matter.
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    Money should be allocated to strategic planning, to improve the hotline. They have the feedback they need to identify problems.
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    Since this is a crisis line for our vets, who risk their lives for us, studies should be done often to make sure that this crisis line is meeting the needs of our vets. Any bill that makes sure that studies are done well and often is good.
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    This is a no brainer. The risk of suicide for veterans is much higher than the general population so there should be focus on making sure veterans are getting the mental health treatment that they need. The VCI plays a critical role in this regard. Therefore, we should make sure the Veterans Crisis Line is as effective as possible at preventing suicide among veterans.
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    No need to spend taxpayer money to review calls to convince an agency do their job
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    You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Metrics are important particularly in providing our veterans the absolute best in care that is possible. Hopefully, this will be a properly funded and staffed.
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    How do we know it's working, if no one studies that data.
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    It is impossible to improve or streamline a program without a thorough examination of it. Without studies, problems (or a lack thereof) cannot be identified. Even if this study finds that everything is working perfectly, it is essential for proving so.
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    We will assume with hope that this survey will be objective and neutral.
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    A study like this is not simple. You have to control for a lot of variables about patients to compare those that used the hotline and did harm themselves or attempt suicide to those that didn’t. So, I’m not surprised that this would take money. There is a question of whether this money should fall in the VA budget or outside of it, which I’m on the fence about.
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