Veterans Affairs to offer mental health services for free

The federal government announced that the VA will now be offering free emergency mental health care for veterans.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 12:13 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Thursday that veterans will be able to get free emergency mental health care at a VA or non-VA facility, including up to 30 days of inpatient care or 90 days of outpatient care.

However, not everyone is sold on the idea. Dr. Eric French, a psychiatrist, has concerns about the lengthy wait time affecting care quality and suggested that veterans get help from both the VA and other sources.

Non-emergency care wait times at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center is 43 days for new patients and nine days for existing patients. The largest VA facility outside of the Denver metro area is a 31 day wait for new patients and 16 days for current patients.

Other costs covered by the VA include transportation costs and other treatment. “We’re hoping that at minimum, this information can help veterans realize that not only is their emergency care important, but that there’s something waiting for them on the other side,” said Benjamin Kremer, a representative of the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System.