Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) introduced the Expanding Care for Veterans Act. Brownley’s bill would expand complementary and alternative medicine and mental health care options for our nation’s veterans.

“We must find more and better ways to provide our veterans with the mental health care they need. There are many organizations, including in and around Ventura County, who are achieving very positive results using complementary and alternative medicine to treat mental health issues,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “I believe we need to evaluate what works, and when it does, find a way to provide those therapies to our veterans who are in need, which is what my bill would do.”

The Expanding Care for Veterans Act would:

  • Expand research and education on, and delivery of, complementary and alternative medicine to veterans.
  • Establish a program on integration of complementary and alternative medicine within Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.
  • Study the barriers encountered by veterans in receiving, and administrators and clinicians in providing, complementary and alternative medicine services furnished by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Establish a program on the use of wellness programs as complementary approach to mental health care for veterans and family members of veterans.

Complementary and alternative medicine is intended to enhance, reinforce, or replace traditional, mainstream therapies. For instance, in Ventura County, Reins of Hope’s assisted psychotherapy program to improve mental health, self-esteem, communication skills, and interpersonal relationships.

On February 20, 2014, Congresswoman Brownley held a field hearing at CSU Channel Islands, to bring attention to the need to expand complementary and alternative medicine, in order to improve care for our veterans and reduce wait times for mental health visits.

Brownley has worked with the more than 120 veterans service organizations in Ventura County to address mental and physical health care, as well as with other issues.

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