Crisis mental healthcare now more available for Oregon vets

Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 5:50 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - In a new nationwide policy that went into effect Tuesday, any veteran experiencing a mental health crisis and seeking help will not have to pay any hospital bills.

Any expenses will be covered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

A statement from the VA says this new policy is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to reduce suicides among veterans. The statement also says this change could increase access to mental health crisis care for up to 9 million veterans who are not enrolled in the VA health system.

David Holt, director of Portland’s VA Media Center, says his hospital’s Community Care division will work on each veteran’s case who seeks help so they will not have to pay.

“It’s between the payment side in house in Community Care working with the providers who are taking care of our veteran patients so that it becomes a seamless transition for the veteran,” said Holt.

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Under the new policy, the VA will cover all costs for a veteran who calls for help during a mental health crisis, regardless of whether the patient is treated at a VA or private hospital.

Inpatient care is covered up to 30 days, outpatient care is covered for 90 days, and veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA health system.

Holt also says the new rule also covers ambulance costs, which can be pricey.

“This covers transportation services through an ambulance,” said Holt. “If we need to transport the veteran from their home or wherever they are to a private hospital or the VA, that will be covered.”

If you or a loved one is a experiencing a mental health crisis, you can dial 988, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. If you or a loved one is a veteran, press 1 when prompted after dialing 988. Other resources can be found at