June 25, 2018

Young touts Veteran Crisis Hotline and Nursing Home Rating Amendments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) applauded the passage of the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, which included two key amendments for Indiana veterans.

The first, authorizes a study of the Veterans Crisis Line. Started in 2011, the Crisis Line is a key resource for veterans. According to the Veterans Administration, suicide is 22 percent more likely among veterans than the non-veteran population. The bill authorizes a study of the Crisis Line to ensure that veterans are receiving the follow-up care they need. 

U.S. Representative Jim Banks authored the bill in the House. U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly co-sponsored the amendment. 

“Congress and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs has a solemn duty to ensure that programs designed to protect veterans emotional and mental health are effective,” said Young on the Senate floor Wednesday. “While we applaud the VA for administering this program, we embrace the fundamental responsibility of Congress to exercise robust oversight of the Veterans Crisis Line to ensure this program is actually effective.”

Senator Young also co-sponsored an amendment requiring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to release detailed information about the quality of its 133 nursing homes nationwide. The senators filed the amendment in response to a story first published by USA Today and The Boston Globe revealing that the VA shielded data from the public about very poor quality rankings at its nursing homes, including a one-star rating in Marion, Ind. The amendment requires the VA to submit a report to Congress within 90 days of enactment and then on an annual basis.

“We owe it to our veterans to improve the quality of care at veterans nursing homes,” Senator Young said. “That has to start with a renewed commitment to transparency at the VA.”

The bill, including the two provisions passed the Senate today by a vote of 82-5.