Sunday, February 2, 2020

IMPROVE Well-being for Veterans Act not well researched on facts

IMPROVE Well-being for Veterans Act should have required facts

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 2, 2020

"Senate VA Committee boosts veteran suicide prevention efforts" written by Senator John Boozman made a lot of claims, that are simply not true. This part sounds great.
That’s why I joined Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) to introduce the IMPROVE Well-being for Veterans Act. This legislation would create a VA grant program to leverage veteran-serving non-profits and other community networks and create a common tool to measure the effectiveness of programs in order to reduce veteran suicides and save lives
But it only sounds great until you get to the part where with all the groups out there, no one seems to be doing much to hold any of them accountable. What is worse, is when members of the House and Senate, write bills, they do not seem too interested in what was done before.

They also do not seem to interested in what they say is true...or not. What U.S. Sen. John Boozman claimed
The Annual Suicide Report released by the Department of Defense (DoD) four months ago shows an increase in suicide among active-duty personnel in 2018. The National Guard experienced the highest rate of suicides among active duty and reserve members.
What the truth is.
The Department of Defense released the suicide report for 2018 in August...not 4 months ago.
What U.S. Sen. John Boozman claimed
Suicide prevention has become a priority at DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in recent years.
What the truth is.

Back in 2008
The VA said it has hired more than 3,000 mental healthcare professionals over the past two years to deal with the increasing number of PTSD cases, but the problems persist. In response to the federal lawsuit, the VA set up a suicide prevention hotline. The VA said it has received more than 43,000 calls, 1,000 of which were from veterans who were on the verge of suicide and were rescued.

What U.S. Sen. John Boozman claimed
From Fiscal Year 2010 to 2020, the mental health and suicide prevention budget at the VA increased by 83%. During that same period, the suicide prevention outreach budget alone increased by 233%.
What the truth is.
This will explain a lot of that increase in the budget, but also think about how much more money was given to private providers instead of into the VA itself.
What U.S. Sen. John Boozman claimed
Despite the $222 million in funding for suicide prevention, the VA estimates that around 20 veterans commit suicide each day. That number has unfortunately remained roughly unchanged even with this dramatic infusion of resources.
What the truth is.
Actually the latest report from the VA is the "number" is 17. But that is not really true either. Read it and you'll see what I mean.
What U.S. Sen. John Boozman claimed
There are more than 50,000 organizations that provide suicide prevention services for veterans. Allowing the VA to tap into this network is a commonsense approach to ensuring improvements that have the potential to make a difference.
What the truth is.
Donors who want to make contributions towards charitable programs that serve the military and veterans face an almost overwhelming volume of choices with, by some accounts, the existence of over 40,000 nonprofit organizations dedicated to serving the military and veterans and an estimated 400,000 service organizations that in some way touch veterans or service members.

But above that, we should also notice that while all of these groups popped up, the numbers got worse.

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