Free Emergency Care Offered to U.S. Veterans


Depressed army soldier seeking counselling and having a meeting with a doctor at a clinic | Image by Drazen Zigic, Shutterstock

U.S. military veterans will now have access to free mental healthcare at any Veterans Affairs hospital or private facility if they find themselves suffering from a suicidal crisis.

Availability of the free treatment was announced by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on January 17, according to a news release.

“Starting Jan. 17, veterans in acute suicidal crisis will be able to go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency health care at no cost – including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days. Veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA system to use this benefit,” the release read.

Veteran Dawn Rachel Floran, who is also a licensed counselor and owner of Lake Ray Hubbard Counseling, believes the new policy is a good thing, but is worried that private facilities could deprioritize veterans because of it.

“Veterans always received it free at the VA, so I thought that was a little bit interesting. Now, going to a private facility, my concern is that the facilities would try to take them as a last resort,” Floran said to The Dallas Express.

“I’m not saying they would, but in my experience, private facilities would prefer to take the higher pay clients or with insurance,” she continued. “So, I would definitely have to look into this more to make sure that that’s not the case.”

Floran served in the United States military, with combat experience as a behavioral health specialist in the U.S. Army and U.S. Army National Guard.

She said that her veteran’s support group will be starting sometime this month.

Floran intends to hold support groups for veterans and psychoeducation for people who are in emotionally abusive relationships or have experienced emotionally abusive trauma.

“A lot of times, veterans may not want to go to a support group because it seems like they just keep reliving their trauma in the past. I would like … what are we doing now to be different,” Floran concluded.

Under Section 201 of the Veterans Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care, and Treatment (COMPACT) Act of 2020, the policy will allow the VA to:

  • Provide, pay for or reimburse treatment of eligible individuals’ emergency suicide care, transportation costs, and follow-up care at a VA or non-VA facility for up to 30 days of inpatient care and 90 days of outpatient care.
  • Make appropriate referrals for care following the period of emergency suicide care.
  • Determine eligibility for other VA services and benefits.
  • Refer eligible individuals for appropriate VA programs and benefits following the period of emergency suicide care.

Regardless of status with the VA, those who are eligible include:

  • Veterans who were discharged or released from active duty after more than 24 months of active service under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former members of the armed forces, including reserve service members, who served more than 100 days under a combat exclusion or in support of a contingency operation, either directly or by operating an unmanned aerial vehicle from another location, who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former members of the armed forces who were victims of a physical assault of a sexual nature, a battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment while serving in the armed forces.

Veterans who are in crisis or those who are concerned about one can contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive 24/7 confidential support. To reach responders, dial 988 then press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text 838255.

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Alexandra Fincher
Alexandra Fincher
1 month ago

Thank you so much for this information. Our Veterans should have the best and free care. They are the ones that have made this country, the most wonderful country in the world. I will definitely let our American Legion Auxiliary Post 597, know more about this information.

Roderick A Jones
Roderick A Jones
1 month ago

Thank you so much for this information. I’m a war veteran (Desert Shield/Desert Storm) and I deal with disabilities everyday. I’m glad to know that we are still appreciated and cared for.