The COMPACT Act guarantees Veterans in suicidal crisis can go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for free emergency health care.
Veterans in suicidal crisis can go to any emergency room to get medical care.
Below we break down what this means for you and your loved ones should you need emergent suicidal care.
What it is
- Any Veteran – whether enrolled in VA or not – can go to a VA or non-VA emergency room for emergent suicidal care.
- We strongly recommend Veterans in suicidal crisis call 911 or visit their nearest emergency room for expedited care.
- VA will provide the treatment or cover the costs for treatment including transportation, inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days, and outpatient care for up to 90 days.
Who is eligible
Regardless of VA enrollment status, the following are eligible to have their medical expenses covered by VA:
- Those who were discharged or released from active duty after more than 24 months of active service under conditions other than dishonorable.
- Former members of the armed forces, including reserve service members, who served more than 100 days under a combat exclusion or in support of a contingency operation either directly or by operating an unmanned aerial vehicle from another location who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
- Former members of the armed forces who were the victim of a physical assault of a sexual nature, a battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment while serving in the armed forces.
Veterans who were dishonorably discharged may still seek emergent suicidal care at a VA or non-VA emergency room, however, VA will not cover the expenses.
How it works
Veterans or their loved ones should do the following in the event of an emergent suicidal crisis:
- Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room
- Notify staff that you’re a Veteran
- Staff will take you back and provide treatment
Emergencies are never planned so it’s important you and your loved ones know where the closest emergency room is located.
If a Veteran receives a bill for emergency suicide care related care at a VA medical facility, they should contact their local VA patient advocate and ask for a clinical review with an appropriate provider. Veterans can also contact the number on their bill to initiate this process.
Veterans who received COMPACT-related care at a community emergency department should submit a signed, written request for reimbursement to their local VA medical facility community care office along with an after-visit summary/medical documentation and a billing statement from the rendering provider showing diagnosis code information and an itemized list of charges.
For more information on the COMPACT Act, visit the Congressional Summary of the Bill.