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Ohio


Rep. Ryan wants to open the mental health window for veterans
The Veterans Mental Health Accessibility Act would extend high-priority mental health care to vets beyond the current five-year window
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


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Jeff St. Clair
 
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) is one of the co-sponsors of a bill that would extend high priority mental health care to veterans beyond the current five year window. Ryan is co-chair of the Military Mental Health Caucus. Ryan is pictured here speaking in Kent in 2010.
Courtesy of Jeff St.Clair
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About half of the military veterans who check into a VA hospital are seeking mental health treatment. But if it’s been more than five years since they served, a northeast Ohio Congressman says they may not get the treatment they need.

Democrat Tim Ryan of Niles co-chairs the Congressional Military Mental Health Caucus. He’s co-sponsoring a bill that would extend priority for mental health benefits to veterans indefinitely.

Ryan on extending veteran mental health care

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“Many of the mental health issues, much of the post-traumatic stress, may happen years and years later," Ryan said. "And we don’t think that they should be disqualified from getting mental health treatment from the VA if it is past five years. You just never know when something like this is going to come on.” 

Ryan has no estimate for how much it would cost to include high-priority mental health coverage for veterans beyond the five-year window.

Currently, the U.S. spends about $40 billion annually to provide medical care to the country’s more than 23 million veterans.

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