U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today announced that he is no longer objecting to unanimous passage of the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act after the bill was significantly improved.
"I'm pleased that Senator Harkin and I were able to reach an agreement that will serve all of our veterans, particularly those who are experiencing severe mental stress. As a practicing physician, I understand the seriousness of mental health issues and am encouraged that I was able to work with Senator Harkin to improve this legislation," Dr. Coburn said.
"As a result of changes made in the bill, basic health care for veterans will not be preconditioned on a mental health screening. Veterans who need assistance will receive it, but the bill will not force veterans to undergo mental screening when they seek routine care. I'm also pleased that changes in the legislation will help protect the privacy of veterans' medical records and prevent the unnecessary tracking of veterans," Dr. Coburn said.
"I'm hopeful this bill will pass by unanimous consent in the near future. However, I remain disappointed by the tendency of Senate leaders in both parties to rush consideration of complex and important legislation. Our veterans deserve more than our good intentions; they deserve our best effort. I believe these negotiations have yielded that result," Dr. Coburn said.