Edward Markey

From the office of:

Edward Markey

From: The Honorable Thomas MacArthur
Sent By:
Bill: H.R. 1604
Date: 3/31/2015

Dear Colleague:
Please join us in supporting veterans’ right to immediate mental health care by cosponsoring HR 1604, “Veterans’ Mental Health Care Access Act.”
This legislation would expand the Choice program to allow veterans to seek immediate mental health care at any facility eligible to receive reimbursement through CMS. The 30 day waiting period and 40 mile distance provisions currently in the Choice program would be waived for mental health care needs. A veteran would simply use their Choice card to receive mental health care immediately without having to jump through additional bureaucratic hoops.
We face a crisis involving Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health disorders among our veterans. Every day 22 veterans commit suicide, and 17 of these victims never pursued mental health care from a VA facility for various reasons. With some veterans, there may be a fear of a stigma about receiving mental health care at a VA hospital or clinic. We believe it will increase the number of those who utilize care if they can access it in a more confidential low key manner at a private off campus location.
Regardless of the reasons, our veterans need to be able to immediately access mental health care from any provider within or outside of the VA with ease. If a veteran is experiencing mental distress, he or she should not have to go to a VA facility to seek mental health treatment if they aren’t comfortable doing so. They should be allowed to seek treatment at the most comfortable and convenient location.
If you would like to more information on this bill or would like to cosponsor please contact Jeff Brabant ( in Rep. MacArthur’s office at (202) 225-4765 or Aaron Woolf ( or Davin Combs ( in Rep. O’Rourke’s office at (202) 225-4831.
Sincerely, Sincerely,

Tom MacArthur Beto O’Rourke
Member of Congress Member of Congress