Friday, April 8, 2016

Billionaire Funding 20 to 25 Clinics for Veterans

Billionaire pledges $275 million for free mental health care for veterans, families
Stars and Stripes

By Heath Druzin
Published: April 8, 2016

A billionaire hedge-fund manager has pledged $275 million to build clinics offering free mental health care to veterans and their families.

Steven Cohen, who heads Point72 Asset Management, will build 20 to 25 clinics across the country in the next three to five years, with the first ones opening in July.

The initial clinics will be in New York, Dallas, San Antonio and Los Angeles, according to a press release from the Cohen Veterans Network, the nonprofit group overseeing the effort.

The announcement comes as the Department of Veterans Affairs remains under fire for long wait times and inadequate health care for veterans and is getting increasing criticism for denying health care to veterans with other than honorable discharges.

Cohen’s clinics would offer free mental health care to all veterans, regardless of discharge status, with priority given to post-9/11 vets. The clinics promise short wait times and free transportation to appointments.

“It’s very simple the way we see it: A veteran is someone who wore the uniform for even one day,” Cohen Veterans Network Executive Director Dr. Anthony Hassan said in a phone interview with Stars and Stripes.

Hassan, an Army and Air Force veteran who has spent years studying military behavioral health, said he picked the initial locations based on their high concentrations of veterans and long VA wait times for mental health appointments.
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