Effective January 17, 2023, veterans in acute suicidal crisis are eligible for free emergency health care at any VA or non-VA health care facility. Emergency health care includes inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days. Veterans do not have to be enrolled in the VA system in order to qualify for this free mental health benefit. See under section 201 of the Veterans Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care, and Treatment (COMPACT) Act of 2020. Under this mental health initiative, the VA will be able to do the following to assist veterans in suicidal crisis:
- Provide, pay for, or reimburse for treatment of eligible individuals’ emergency suicide care, transportation costs, and follow-up care at a VA or non-VA facility for up to 30 days of inpatient care and 90 days of outpatient care.
- Make appropriate referrals for care following the period of emergency suicide care.
- Determine eligibility for other VA services and benefits.
- Refer eligible individuals for appropriate VA programs and benefits following the period of emergency suicide care.