Congress Tries to Reduce Veterans Suicides

Feb 13, 2017

The VA would be required to provide psychiatric care to any veteran who asks for it under a bill introduced in Congress. 

It's called the Sergeant Brandon Ketchum Never Again Act, and is named for a Quad Cities veteran who committed suicide after being turned away from the VA medical center in Iowa City when he asked for help. 

One of the sponsors is Iowa Second District Congressman Dave Loebsack. Currently an estimated 20 veterans a day kill themselves, and he hopes his bill will reduce that number. 

"That person should never ever be denied in-patient services and a bed. And if the VA facility can't accommodate them, it would according to the bill, if the VA doesn't have a bed available, they need to find one."

Loebsack says it's not entirely clear what happened when Ketchum asked for help - the VA's inspector general is still investigating.

The bill has 40 co-sponsors from both parties and many states across the country.