Rep. Lee Speaks on House Floor in Support of Expanding Veterans’ Mental Health Care

September 23, 2020
Press Release

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (Nev.-03) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives in support of the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act. This bill will implement a comprehensive and aggressive strategy to reach more veterans with the mental health care they need. 

The following is a transcript of Rep. Lee’s remarks: 

“I stand today in support of Senate Bill 785, the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act. 

“In addition to making critical updates related to VA transition assistance, mental health care, and care for women veterans, this bill also includes an important provision that I championed here in the House in the form of the VA Telehealth Expansion Act, which would provide entities with grants expanding telehealth capabilities to serve veterans throughout the VA. 

“We know the stat that over 20 veterans take their life by suicide each day, and not one suicide is acceptable.  

“Many of those veterans are not accessing VA care, and we know telehealth is another venue to allow those veterans increased access to care.  

“And whether a veteran is homebound, in a rural community, in a community without access to a VA clinic or hospital, or as we’ve seen during this pandemic, at high risk of dying if they catch COVID-19, this pandemic has shown us just how critical it is for our veterans to be able to access health care through telehealth. 

“In my home state of Nevada, in just one week that Southern Nevada began responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of veterans in the Southern Nevada Healthcare System who had telehealth visits, that number was just under 150.  

“Fast forward to the week of July 19, they were providing over 2,000 video visits to veterans in their homes via VA Video Connect. 

“That means that telehealth video visits increased by over 1,000 percent. 

“It’s abundantly clear that telehealth has provided improved access in health care for so many veterans, and we must continue to invest in the VA’s telehealth capacity. S.785 does just that.  

“Before I yield the balance of my time, I want to give a special thank you to Congressman Roe, the Ranking Member, for his leadership on this committee. I've only been working with you one term, but without a doubt your commitment to our veterans is clear.”  

BACKGROUND: On July 30, 2020, Rep. Lee, along with Republican Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.-03), introduced the bipartisan VA Telehealth Expansion Act to improve and expand telehealth services for veterans at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Click here to learn more about the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act.

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