Dec 15 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Thom Tillis and his colleagues recently introduced the Veterans Mental Health and Addiction Therapy Quality of Care Act, which would require an independent organization outside of the government to conduct a study to assess the quality of care veterans receive for mental and addiction health treatment from providers within and outside the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

“It is critical the VA provides the highest quality mental health services to our veterans through implementing the best treatment practices available,” said Senator Tillis. “This legislation enables the VA to improve its mental health services by studying best practices administered by non-VA providers. Veterans deserve the best care possible, and I am proud to cosponsor this legislation on behalf of the more than 600,000 veterans who call North Carolina home.”


The Department of Veterans Affairs is home to the nation’s largest integrated healthcare system that provides comprehensive health services to U.S. military veterans who are enrolled. However, recent estimates indicate that as many as 70% of VA-eligible veterans received their care from external providers. Given the high rate of veteran suicide due to mental and addiction health conditions, a study is needed to better understand if current practices provide our veterans with the best mental and addiction quality of care.  

The Veterans Mental Health and Addiction Therapy Quality of Care Act would require an independent and objective organization outside of the VA to conduct a study to:

  • Analyze the results of comparable instances of addiction and mental health care between inside and outside providers using objective criteria such as symptom scores and suicide risk; 
  • Ascertain to what extent outside providers are using evidence-based practices in the treatment of addiction and mental health issues;
  • Identify potential gaps in coordination between internal and external providers in responding to individuals seeking addiction or mental health care;
  • Evaluate the availability of coordinated care for veterans who have separate or related conditions which may be impacting their mental health;
  • Assess providers’ military cultural competency;
  • Gauge the ease and flexibility of sharing medical records with a veteran’s health care team;
  • Consider to what extent providers are conducting outcome monitoring throughout a veteran’s treatment to track progress or lack thereof.

The legislation is supported by the Disabled American Veterans Association, the American Psychological Association, and the Veteran Health Care Policy Initiative.