PEER Act Update
Two years ago DBSA began working with Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) on legislation that would broaden the use of peer support specialists at the Department of Veteran Affairs medical centers. An executive order in 2013 mandated that peer specialists be employed at all VA facilities offering mental health services, but this mandate did not extend to patient-aligned care team settings. Working with Senator Blumenthal, DBSA lent its expertise to supporting language that resulted in the Veteran Partners Efforts to Enhance Reintegration Act (the Veteran PEER Act).
In October of 2017, Senator Blumenthal and Senator Blunt (R-MO) introduced the bill on the floor of the Senate. Since then, additional Senators have signed-on as co-sponsors. But even more importantly, in November the PEER Act was included in the larger Veterans Affairs Community Care Reform Proposal, which passed out of committee and now goes to the full Senate for a vote.
DBSA is honored to be instrumental in ensuring that veterans will have broader access to peer support specialists, regardless of their entry point. We are currently educating members on the House side to gain support for a companion bill. Your support is crucial in ensuring that both the Senate and the House pass this important legislation. When you subscribe to the DBSA advocacy platform, you'll receive both the monthly newsletter that provides updates and timely action alerts informing you when it's most advantageous to contact your Representative and Senators.