Florida Lawmakers should support legislation establishing Veterans’ Care Coordination Program

As Florida continues to struggle with the prevention of veterans suicide, lawmakers are introducing legislation that would take further steps to ensure we’re doing everything we can to help our bravest men and women, who may be experiencing a crisis.

SB 260: Services for Veterans and Their Families being sponsored by State Senator Gayle Harrell (link HERE) would require

the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to establish the Florida Veterans’ Care Coordination Program to provide behavioral health care referral and care coordination services for veterans and their families; requiring the department to contract with a certain nonprofit entity to enter into agreements with Florida 211 Network participants to provide such services; requiring Florida 211 Network participants to collect program implementation data and to submit such data to the department; requiring the department to submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature by a specified date, etc.

The bill was just introduced last month and will require some questions by lawmakers, including why the data collection on existing services wasn’t already being done. And the term “data collection” itself, which may scare away those who need help, but also require anonymity.

But as written, the bill’s goals appear to be going in the right direction.

This includes connecting veterans with the services needed to get help. This is a major problem that the VA can’t seem to overcome, and their own reports say that if the vets can get in to see someone, then the percentages drop.

Florida lawmakers should examine this legislation and support it, if it can be implemented as drafted without complications.

The trend of veteran suicides in the state must stop.

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