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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, December 27, 2016 2:18 pm

Donnelly's legislation in National Defense Authorization Act

Brian Francisco | The Journal Gazette

Legislation introduced by Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., was included in the National Defense Authorization Act signed last week by President Barack Obama.

Donnelly's provision allows the Department of Defense to establish a pilot program to expand the availability of physician assistants to provide mental health care evaluations and services for members of the military and their families.

It was the fourth provision of Donnelly's Servicemember and Veteran Mental Health Care Package to be signed into law since 2014. The others require yearly mental health assessments for all military service personnel; create a special designation for private-sector mental health providers that demonstrate a strong knowledge of military culture and mental health issues; and require Defense Department primary care and mental health care providers to receive training on suicide risk recognition and management.

Obama also recently signed a military veterans bill introduced by Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd. The Veterans Mobility Safety Act of 2016 will require the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish comprehensive standards for providers of automobile adaptive equipment, including wheelchair lifts and reduced-effort steering and braking systems.

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