New entry from the Congress concerning ‘‘Creating Options for Veterans Expedited Recovery Act’’ or the ‘‘COVER Act’’

This Bill, sponsored by Mr. BILIRAKIS (for himself, Ms. FRANKEL of Florida, Mr. JOLLY, Mr. JOHNSON of Ohio, Mr. PALAZZO, and Mr. RUIZ) established the Veterans Expedited Recovery Commission  with duties to:
(1) Examine the efficacy of the evidence-based therapy model used by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for treating mental health illnesses of veterans and identify areas to improve wellness-based outcomes.
(2) Conduct a patient-centered survey within each of the Veterans Integrated Service Networks to examine—
(A) the experience of veterans with the Department of Veterans Affairs when seeking medical assistance for mental health issues through the health care system of the Department;
(B) the experience of veterans with non-Department medical facilities and health professionals for treating mental health issues;
(C) the preferences of veterans regarding available treatments for mental health issues and which methods the veterans believe to bemost effective;
(D) the experience, if any, of veterans with respect to the complementary alternative treatment therapies described in subparagraphs (A) through (I) in paragraph (3);
(E) the prevalence of prescribing prescription medication among veterans seeking treatment through the health care system of the Department as remedies for addressing mental health issues; and
(F) the outreach efforts of the Secretary regarding the availability of benefits and treatments for veterans for addressing mental health issues, including by identifying ways to reduce barriers to and gaps in such benefits and treatments.
(3) Examine available research on complementary alternative treatment therapies for mental health issues and identify what benefits could be made with the inclusion of such treatments for veterans, including with respect to—
(A) music therapy;
(B) equine therapy;
(C) training and caring for service dogs;
(D) yoga therapy;
(E) acupuncture therapy;
(F) meditation therapy;
(G) outdoor sports therapy;
(H) hyperbaric oxygen therapy;
(I) accelerated resolution therapy; and
(J) other therapies the Commission determines appropriate.
(4) Study the potential increase of claims relating to mental health issues submitted to the Secretary by veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn, including an assessment of the
resources available within the Department to ensure that quality health care demands relating to such claims can be delivered in a timely manner.

Information about the Bill and progress is available at:  https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/271/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22hr271%22%5D%7D

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