Senator Aguon Submits Testimony in Support of U.S. Senate Bill to Provide More Mental Health Care for Vets

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Guam – Guam Senator Frank Aguon Jr. has submitted testimony in support of  U.S. Senate Legislation that would provide additional professional and staff support for mental health treatment of  veterans.

The Senate bill is called the “Rural Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act,” Bill S.1155.  It was introduced by Senator Jon Tester and was co-sponsored by Senator Mark Begich.

Senator Aguon, who oversees veterans affairs at the Guam legislature, submitted written testimony to the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, United States Senate.

In his testimony, Senator Aguon states:

“Over the years, our nation has recognized the increasing number of veterans who have been diagnosed with mental illness, and who are in need of appropriate mental health treatment.  The proposed measure would provide additional professional and staff support for mental health treatment and other healthcare services that have been deemed necessary for our veterans. It is imperative that such additional services and support be provided for our veterans who have served our nation, and the island of Guam, honorably in defense of freedom.”

READ the release from Senator Aguon below: 

Hagatna, GU – Today, Senator Frank B. Aguon, Jr., Chairman of the Committee on the Guam US Military Relocation, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs and Judiciary, submitted written testimony to U.S. Senator Bernard Sanders, Chairman, Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, United States Senate, in support of U.S. Senate Bill S.1155 “Rural Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act”. Bill S.1155 was introduced in the Senate on 12 June 2013 by Senator Jon Tester and was co-sponsored by Senator Mark Begich.

Summary of Bill S.1155 (ref: Congress.gov):

  • Rural Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act – Amends appropriations authorities for veterans’ benefits to provide advanced appropriations for information technology relating to medical services, support, compliance, and facilities of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

  • Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to include, as a component of VHA health-care personnel education and training programs, education and training of marriage and family therapists as well as licensed professional mental health counselors.

  • Amends the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 to require the Secretary, through VA medical centers, to provide mental health services, including outpatient care, to the immediate families of certain veterans returning from Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom.

  • Requires the Secretary to report to Congress regarding telemedicine services (the use by a health care provider of telecommunications to assist in the diagnosis or treatment of a patient’s medical condition) for veterans, including updates on VA teleconsultation and telemedicine initiatives, training, and partnerships with primary care providers.

Senator Aguon states in his testimony, “Over the years, our nation has recognized the increasing number of veterans who have been diagnosed with mental illness, and who are in need of appropriate mental health treatment.  The proposed measure would provide additional professional and staff support for mental health treatment and other healthcare services that have been deemed necessary for our veterans. It is imperative that such additional services and support be provided for our veterans who have served our nation, and the island of Guam, honorably in defense of freedom.”

For comments or questions regarding Senator Frank B. Aguon’s statement, you may contact the Office of Senator Frank B. Aguon, Jr. at 475-GUM1/2(4861/2), or e-mail to aguon4guam@gmail.com.