Loading...

VA Seeking Comment on Waiving Copayments for Veterans at High Risk for Suicide

January 5, 2022 by Dan McCue
U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veteran Affairs is seeking public comment on a proposal to waive copayments for medications and health care services for veterans who have been identified as being at a high risk for suicide.

According to a notice published in the Federal Register on Jan. 5, the VA is statutorily required to set a copayment rate for outpatient medical care provided to veterans and has very little leeway to raise and reduce those payments.

In recent years, however, the VA has identified suicide prevention as a top clinical priority. As part of this effort, the VA was to act on a recommendation that health care professionals increase the frequency of outpatient mental health encounters to provide more intensive care to veterans at risk.

The problem is increased as outpatient visits could create a financial burden that will be detrimental to some vulnerable veterans.

In addition, the VA said internal reporting documents have revealed that there are substantial numbers of suicides and suicide attempts among veterans that result from overdoses of medications that are prescribed by VA providers on an outpatient basis. 

As a result, the department was to prescribe medication in less than 30-day supplies. But this also creates a problem — if fewer pills are dispensed at a time, the veteran will have to return to get prescriptions more frequently, each of these visits requiring a copayment.

As a result, VA believes that current rules should be amended to allow for lesser copayment amounts for medications prescribed for a veteran at high risk of suicide.

“Through these efforts, VA will continue to address this national public health crisis by further eliminating financial burdens on Veterans which may negatively influence their engagement in mental health treatment and their critical medication availability,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a written statement.

The Federal Register notice can be found here. The public comment period ends March 7.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

In The News

Health

Voting

Veterans

March 17, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
VA Raises the Bar on Improving Veteran Health Services

WASHINGTON — The $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 15 includes funds... Read More

WASHINGTON — The $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 15 includes funds to modernize the VA infrastructure and allow registered nurses and physician assistants in the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to receive a maximum salary to address... Read More

January 5, 2022
by Dan McCue
VA Seeking Comment on Waiving Copayments for Veterans at High Risk for Suicide

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veteran Affairs is seeking public comment on a proposal to waive copayments for medications and... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veteran Affairs is seeking public comment on a proposal to waive copayments for medications and health care services for veterans who have been identified as being at a high risk for suicide. According to a notice published in the Federal Register... Read More

January 3, 2022
by Dan McCue
Familiar Face Returns to Lead Global War on Terrorism Memorial Effort

WASHINGTON — Michael “Rod” Rodriguez, the former head of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation, is returning to the... Read More

WASHINGTON — Michael “Rod” Rodriguez, the former head of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation, is returning to the role of president and CEO as the effort to build the memorial picks up steam, the organization announced Monday. As reported by The Well News last... Read More

November 17, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
House Panel Seeks Better Interventions To Prevent Veteran Suicides

WASHINGTON — The heartrending subject of veteran suicide was again front and center on Capitol Hill Wednesday as a House... Read More

WASHINGTON — The heartrending subject of veteran suicide was again front and center on Capitol Hill Wednesday as a House panel heard one heartbreaking story after another about young people who placed themselves in harm’s way for their country only to return home and take their... Read More

November 10, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Congress Seeks to Serve More Food to Veterans Who Served the US

WASHINGTON — Navy veteran Tim Keefe told a congressional panel Wednesday about how he was willing to give his life... Read More

WASHINGTON — Navy veteran Tim Keefe told a congressional panel Wednesday about how he was willing to give his life for his country when he enlisted in the military. After he left the Navy, he had trouble finding a sandwich to eat. He suffered a job... Read More

November 10, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
How the Mission Act is Negatively Impacting Veteran Access to Health Care

WASHINGTON — The Mission Act was launched in 2019 to protect veterans' access to health care, but now health policy... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Mission Act was launched in 2019 to protect veterans' access to health care, but now health policy experts are finding that the legislation may actually be preventing access. “Veterans who need to go to [into] the community are not getting care, or getting... Read More

News From The Well