38 U.S. Code § 1720J - Emergent suicide care

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(a) Emergent Suicide Care.—Pursuant to this section, the Secretary shall—
(1)
furnish emergent suicide care to an eligible individual at a medical facility of the Department;
(2)
pay for emergent suicide care provided to an eligible individual at a non-Department facility; and
(3)
reimburse an eligible individual for emergent suicide care provided to the eligible individual at a non-Department facility.
(b) Eligibility.—An individual is eligible for emergent suicide care under subsection (a) if the individual is in an acute suicidal crisis and is either of the following:
(1)
A veteran (as defined in section 101).
(2)
An individual described in section 1720I(b) of this title.
(c) Period of Care.—
(1) Emergent suicide care provided under subsection (a) shall be furnished to an eligible individual—
(A)
through inpatient or crisis residential care, for a period not to exceed 30 days; or
(B)
if care under subparagraph (A) is unavailable, or if such care is not clinically appropriate, as outpatient care for a period not to exceed 90 days.
(2)
If, upon the expiration of a period under paragraph (1), the Secretary determines that the eligible individual remains in an acute suicidal crisis, the Secretary may extend such period as the Secretary determines appropriate.
(d) Notification.—
An eligible individual who receives emergent suicide care under subsection (a) at a non-Department facility (or a person acting on behalf of the individual) shall notify the Secretary of such care within seven days of admission to such facility.
(e) Outreach.—During any period when an eligible individual is receiving emergent suicide care under subsection (a), the Secretary shall—
(1) ensure that—
(A)
in the case of an eligible individual whom the Veterans Crisis Line recommends to seek emergent suicide care at a medical facility of the Department, the Veterans Crisis Line notifies the Suicide Prevention Coordinator of such medical facility;
(B)
in the case of an eligible individual who presents at a medical facility of the Department in an acute suicidal crisis without a recommendation by the Veterans Crisis Line, the Secretary notifies the Suicide Prevention Coordinator;
(C)
in the case of an eligible individual whom the Veterans Crisis Line recommends to seek treatment at a non-Department facility, the Veterans Crisis Line notifies the Suicide Prevention Coordinator and the Office of Community Care at the medical facility of the Department located nearest to the eligible individual; and
(D)
in the case of an eligible individual who presents at a non-Department facility in an acute suicidal crisis without a recommendation by the Veterans Crisis Line and for whom the Secretary receives a notification under subsection (d), the Secretary notifies the Suicide Prevention Coordinator and the Office of Community Care at the medical facility of the Department located nearest to the eligible individual;
(2)
determine the eligibility of the eligible individual for other programs and benefits under the laws administered by the Secretary (or shall make such determination as soon as practicable following the period of such emergent suicide care); and
(3)
make referrals for care following the period of such emergent suicide care, as the Secretary determines appropriate.
(f) Prohibition on Charge.—
(1) If the Secretary provides emergent suicide care to an eligible individual under subsection (a), the Secretary—
(A)
may not charge the eligible individual for any cost of such emergent suicide care; and
(B)
shall pay for any costs of emergency transportation to a facility for such emergent suicide care (as such costs are determined pursuant to section 1725 of this title, to the extent practicable).
(2)
(A)
In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), if the Secretary pays for emergent suicide care provided under subsection (a) to an eligible individual at a non-Department facility, the Secretary shall reimburse the facility for the reasonable value of such emergent suicide care.
(B)
(i)
In carrying out subparagraph (A), the Secretary may determine the amount to reimburse a non-Department facility in a similar manner to the manner in which the Secretary determines reimbursement amounts for that non-Department facility for medical care and services provided under another provision of this chapter.
(ii)
The requirements of section 1725(c)(3) of this title shall apply with respect to payments made under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.
(3)
In the case of an eligible individual who receives emergent suicide care under this section and who is entitled to emergent suicide care (or payment for emergent suicide care) under a health-plan contract, the Secretary may recover the costs of such emergent suicide care provided under this section, other than for such care for a service-connected disability.
(4)
In carrying out subsection (d), the Secretary may not charge an eligible individual for any cost of emergent suicide care provided under subsection (a) solely by reason of the Secretary not having been notified of such care pursuant to such subsection.
(g) Annual Report.—Not less than once each year, the Secretary shall submit to the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs of the Senate and the House of Representatives a report on emergent suicide care provided under subsection (a). Each such report shall include, for the year covered by the report—
(1)
the number of eligible individuals who received emergent suicide care under subsection (a);
(2)
demographic information regarding eligible individuals described in paragraph (1);
(3)
the types of care furnished or paid for this section; [1] and
(4)
the total cost of providing care under subsection (a).
(h) Definitions.—In this section:
(1)
The term “acute suicidal crisis” means that an individual was determined to be at imminent risk of self-harm by a trained crisis responder or health care provider.
(2) The term “crisis residential care” means crisis stabilization care provided—
(A)
in a residential setting; and
(B)
in a facility other than a hospital.
(3) The term “crisis stabilization care” includes, with respect to an individual in acute suicidal crisis, care that ensures, to the extent practicable, immediate safety and reduces—
(A)
the severity of distress;
(B)
the need for urgent care; or
(C)
the likelihood that the distress under subparagraph (A) or need under subparagraph (B) will increase during the transfer of that individual from a facility at which the individual has received care for that acute suicidal crisis.
(4) The term “emergent suicide care” means crisis stabilization care provided to an eligible individual—
(A)
pursuant to a recommendation of the eligible individual from the Veterans Crisis Line; or
(B)
who presents at a medical facility in an acute suicidal crisis.
(5)
The term “health-plan contract” has the meaning given such term in section 1725 of this title.
(6)
The term “Veterans Crisis Line” means the hotline under section 1720F(h) of this title.


[1]  So in original. Probably should be “under this section;”.
Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Effective Date

Pub. L. 116–214, title II, § 201(c), Dec. 5, 2020, 134 Stat. 1033, provided that:

“The Secretary shall furnish or pay for emergent suicide care under section 1720J of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), beginning on the date that is 270 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 5, 2020].”

The following state regulations pages link to this page.