Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Julia Brownley released the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General (VAOIG) report, entitled “Healthcare Inspection — Evaluation of the Veterans Health Administration — Veterans Crisis Line”:
“I am disturbed that the Veterans Crisis Line continues to fall short of serving our veterans. This is simply unacceptable. When a veteran is in crisis, a call to the Veterans Crisis Line could make all the difference. I appreciate that Secretary Shulkin and Acting Under Secretary of Health Poonam Alaigh have taken steps to address the deficiencies identified in the VAOIG report with respect to management and operations of the crisis line. I urge them to implement the remaining recommendations as quickly as possible. A single veteran suicide is one too many. We owe our servicemembers and veterans nothing less than the best services possible.”
Since 2013, Brownley has served as Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health. Brownley has spearheaded congressional efforts to address veteran suicide, including by authoring the Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act (P.L. 114-188) that passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Obama on June 30, 2016. The law requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to identify the most effective programs and approaches in reducing suicide rates among female veterans. A 2015 report indicated that female veterans are six times more likely than non-veteran women to commit suicide.