Access to Health Care and Mental Health Services for Veterans

Section 126-A:82

[RSA 126-A:82 effective upon receipt of sufficient funding for positions required to carry out the purpose of this section.]
    126-A:82 Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans. –
I. The veteran health navigators shall identify all federal and other mental health benefits, coverage, and services available to veterans and their families, including for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and suicide prevention.
II. (a) In coordination with local, state, and federal governmental agencies, in consultation with nonprofit corporations, service providers including Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, localities, and cities that have an effective prevention and treatment system for mental health, the commissioner shall develop and implement a strategy to reduce barriers to access to mental health services and treatment for veterans and their families by:
(1) Identifying structural and logistical barriers to accessing treatment, including perceived stigma, long out of state travel distances to receive care, and any other barriers.
(2) Resolving all barriers identified in subparagraph (1) that can be resolved without legislative or budgetary action, including through increased coordination between departments, nonprofit providers, and the federal government, application for and use of private and federal grants, and other actions.
(b) The commissioner shall submit an annual report containing additional legislative or budgetary steps that would resolve the barriers under subparagraphs (a)(1) and (2) to the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives, the governor, and the chairpersons of the house and senate committees having jurisdiction over public health issues on or before each November 1, commencing on November 1, 2021. The report shall also be posted on the department's Internet website.
III. The commissioner shall in coordination with local, state, and federal government agencies, and in consultation with nonprofits corporations, service providers including Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, localities, and cities that have effective prevention and treatment systems for mental health, enhance and strengthen suicide prevention programs in keeping with proven best practices and research, by:
(a) Identifying and applying for federal and private grants focused on veteran suicide prevention;
(b) Coordinating local, state, federal, and nonprofit programs that include community-based approaches for at-risk veterans and veterans at large;
(c) Providing technical assistance to communities to develop strategic plans to reduce veteran suicide, including through coordination and participation by local leaders, faith communities, schools, workplaces, and other stakeholders; and
(d) Evaluating community strategic plans within the state and disseminating learnings and best practices to optimize the impact of efforts by all partners and stakeholders.
IV. (a) The commissioner shall create a centralized provider database, identifying by region mental health providers with expertise and ability to assist veterans and their families, including highlighting providers with training or experience in the prevention and treatment of veteran suicide.
(b) Using existing resources, and incorporating best practices and research from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and state and nonprofit services providers in New Hampshire, the commissioner shall develop a continuing education course for mental health providers in New Hampshire to obtain expertise in veteran suicide assessment, prevention, treatment, and risk management and make that program available for free to providers in regions of New Hampshire identified in subparagraph (a) as lacking sufficient trained providers.
(c) From existing or appropriated resources, the commissioner shall identify evidence-based best practices to increase awareness of any veteran suicide prevention hotline in New Hampshire or nationally, and other crisis resources with proven effectiveness to reduce veteran suicide.

Source. 2020, 34:4.