News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

All veterans can receive acute suicidal crisis care for free

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) now allows veterans in suicidal crisis to go to any VA or non-VA healthcare facility for free emergency healthcare – 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 VA health care to use this benefit. This expansion will increase access to acute suicide care for up to 9 million veterans who are not currently enrolled in the VA system.

The final policy, which took effect on Jan. 17, allows the VA to:

• Provide, pay for, or reimburse for 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.

Eligible individuals, regardless of VA enrollment status, are:

• 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 the victim of a physical assault of a sexual nature, a battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment while serving in the armed forces.

If you or someone you know is struggling: Don’t wait. Reach out. Visit www.va.gov/REACH for resources and information, or call 988 (then press 1) to quickly connect with caring, qualified crisis support 24/7.

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