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MISSION Act Signed Into Law

On June 6, 2018, President Trump signed the historic VA MISSION Act into law. The bipartisan legislation will not only strengthen the VA's ability to provide care for veterans, but when the VA is unable to do so, will provide veterans more options to seek care in their home communities.

The legislation includes three important priorities that will provide veterans in North Dakota and across the nation with better care, closer to home:

Increase access to long term care options and give providers
relief from expensive and duplicative federal contracting
requirements.

Expands caregiver benefits - including a monthly stipend,
health care coverage, counseling and mental health services,
respite care services, and travel reimbursement - to caregivers
of veterans from all eras.

Elimination of the Veterans Choice Program's 30-day, 40-mile
requirement, allowing veterans who were previously ineligible
to access services outside of the VA, the ability to access
community care.

VA looks forward to implementing the law to give Veterans the best possible care by increasing flexibility and streamlining access to healthcare.


Veterans Crisis Line Improves Service With Third Call Center Opening in Topeka, Kansas

On June 8, 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it has opened its third Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) call center in Topeka, Kansas on the campus of the Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical Center.

"Our focus is, as it always has been, to provide 24/7 world-class suicide prevention and crisis intervention services," said VA Acting Secretary Peter O'Rourke of VA's Veterans Health Administration. "VA is improving its service with this newest call center for Veterans, service members and their families."

VA has always prioritized the need to provide immediate care to Veterans in crisis, and the VCL is an essential part of this life-saving mission. The Topeka-based center was opened to support increased demand. VA has two other call centers located in Canandaigua, New York, and Atlanta, Georgia.

Since VA launched the VCL in 2007, the crisis line responders have:

Answered over 3.5 million calls

Initiated the dispatch of emergency services to callers in imminent crisis nearly 93,000 times

Engaged over 397,000 requests for chat services

Answered nearly 92,000 requests for text services

Forwarded more than 582,000 referrals to local VA Suicide Prevention Coordinators (SPCs) on behalf of Veterans to ensure continuity of care with Veterans local VA providers.

Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide - and those who know a Veteran in crisis - can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text to 838255.