U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced the Medical Evaluation Parity for Service members (MEPS) Act which would improve the way the military identifies and assesses mental health issues. If enacted, the MEPS Act would institute mental health assessments for both incoming recruits and service members separating from active duty. The entry screening would serve as a baseline for future mental health assessments throughout service members’ careers, while the exit screening would provide more accurate information on their mental health condition as they transition to civilian life. To make this transition easier, the bill also directs the Department of Defense to issue a report on its ability to issue service members electronic copies of their health records as they leave service.
“Too many of our men and women in uniform still suffer from the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and behavioral health conditions,” Portman stated. “While the Department of Defense has made great strides in the way it treats these invisible wounds of war, the steady persistence of this problem demonstrates the need for more action. This legislation represents an important step toward a more comprehensive and effective approach to mental health that covers service members throughout the duration of their service as well as during their transition to civilian life.”
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