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California Bill Calls for Increased Mental Health Care for Military Veterans

Garcia & Artigliere

California has passed a bill, SB 409, to increase services to veterans suffering from complex mental health needs. In January, a report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office showed that 30 veterans in Yountville and Redding did not get treatment because there wasn’t a room available in area VA facilities. 32 were discharged early because of a lack of services available to the patients.

Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) sponsored SB 409. “These are the individuals who fought on your behalf for our security in this nation. They deserve the best,” stated Senator Nguyen.

Long-Term Care Has Highest Waiting List

Veterans who need long term care in a Veterans Home are waiting for the longest for care, while those that need secure treatment are waiting even longer. Veterans Homes throughout the state struggle to meet the needs of veterans who have significant mental health requirements. In addition, facilities often lack enough skilled nursing to meet the demanding needs of these patients.

The issue of a lack of care for veterans in California is only expected to rise. As more veterans get older in California, the burden on the eight Veterans Homes in the state is expected to be staggering. While the bill doesn’t demand action, it calls for the Veterans Administration to report on progress by January 1, 2019.

The problems are complex, and Nguyen stated that “We need the report first because we need to know what the issues are.” Once the needs are assessed, a comprehensive plan can be developed to meet the needs of veterans in the system.

CalVet is responsible for overseeing the eight Veterans Homes, and they need more help from the California government in how to help the more than 1.8 million veterans in the state.

There are a number of veteran-related bills in legislation right now. SB 410 is designed to increase access to state jobs for vets newly discharged. SB 197 is designed to create new facilities for troops actively on duty and for veterans who are suffering from lifelong medical conditions.

The state of California has launched more than 150 bills relating to veterans in this session.

Garcia & Artigliere focuses on protecting elders from abuse, including our veterans. For more information contact our office at (800) 328-2630.

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