Summary

3/26/2014--Introduced. Medical Evaluation Parity for Servicemembers Act of 2014 or the MEPS Act - Directs the Secretary of the military department concerned to: (1) provide an individual with... Read More

Status

This bill was introduced on Mar 26, 2014, in a previous session of Congress, but was not passed.

Bill Text

A BILL

To amend title 10, United States Code, to provide an individual with a mental health assessment before the individual enlists in the Armed Forces or is commissioned as an officer in the Armed Forces.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Medical Evaluation Parity for Servicemembers Act of 2014'' or the ``MEPS Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress finds the following: (1) More focus needs to be put on mental health in America. (2) The large number of suicides among veterans and members of the Armed Forces is unacceptable, especially given that more members have died by suicide than in combat. (3) Many of those suicides in the military were members of the Armed Forces who never deployed. (4) Members of the Armed Forces, having been at war for more than a decade, have been put through acute physical and mental stress. (5) Many of the suicides in the Armed Forces can be prevented, and studies have found that improved screening reduced later behavioral problems by 78 percent and reduced thoughts of suicide by more than half. (6) Although the military currently has a baseline measurement process for physical health, the military does not currently have similar standards for mental health. (7) It is important that the military ensures that the members of the Armed Forces are both physically and mentally fit for all the missions the...

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State: CA

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Organizations Supporting

Dear Representative Thompson, On behalf of the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN), we are writing to express our support for your bill H.R. 4305, the Medical Evaluation Parity for Servicemembers (MEPS) Act of 2014, which would amend Title 10, United States Code, to provide an individual with a mental health assessment before the individual enlists or is commissioned as an officer in the Armed Forces. According to recent studies, 20% of Army soldiers enter the service with a psychiatric disorder and a significant percentage of the suicides that occur in the military were committed by individuals who had never been deployed in a combat role. While DOD does a through physical assessment of individuals before they join, there is no mental health evaluation conducted. The United States has a responsibility to take care of its servicemembers who have made sacrifices to their health to defend this country’s freedoms. H.R. 4305 would require that a mental health assessment be conducted alongside the physical health examination for all those applying to join and serve in the Armed Forces. The examination conducted under MEPS would test for mental illnesses as PTSD, TBI and suicidal risk. This bill effectively establishes a starting point to help identify current or potential servicemembers that suffer from changes in their mental health. Moreover, H.R. 4305 guarantees that these servicemembers continue to be checked up on throughout their military careers, ensuring they receive the proper treatment they require. Finally, this legislation allows DOD the flexibility necessary to implement the assessments without burdening the recruiting systems. Thank you for your initiative in introducing legislation which seeks to help our military community through improved mental health testing and treatment. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 703-548-5800.

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Bill Summary


3/26/2014--Introduced.
Medical Evaluation Parity for Servicemembers Act of 2014 or the MEPS Act - Directs the Secretary of the military department concerned to: (1) provide an individual with a mental health assessment before such individual enlists or is commissioned as an officer in an Armed Force, and (2) use such results as a baseline for any subsequent mental health examinations. Prohibits the Secretary from considering the results of such assessment in determining the assignment or promotion of a member of the Armed Forces. Directs the Secretary to treat such assessment in the same manner as medical records with respect to laws and regulations relating to the privacy of information. Requires the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to submit to Congress and the Secretary of Defense (DOD) a report on preliminary mental health assessments of members of the Armed Forces, including recommendations regarding: (1) establishing a preliminary mental health assessment of members of the Armed Forces to establish parity with physical screenings; and (2) the composition of the mental health assessment, best practices, and how to track assessment changes relating to traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions.

H.R. 4304 Jumpstarting Opportunities with Bold Solutions Act H.R. 4306FAIR Act