In the past week, Lamb, D-17, Mount Lebanon, has teamed with Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Bucks County, on the Testing, Researching and Expanding Alternative Treatments (TREAT) Act; Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., on the VA Precision Medicine Act and Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., on the VA Data Analytics and Technology Assistance (DATA) Act.
“We must do more to combat the veteran suicide crisis,” said Lamb, a Marine Corps veteran and vice chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, in a joint statement. “Congress needs to give the (Department of Veterans Affairs) every tool possible to meet the mental health challenges facing our veterans before they get to the point of danger.”
Lamb added that the “work is critical, and it is bipartisan because we all know that one more veteran lost to suicide is one too many.”
Fitzpatrick said that "it is imperative that our nation’s veterans receive access to the highest quality medical testing and holistic treatment options, including for mental health.”
Under the TREAT Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would be required to create a two-year program to provide “complementary and integrative” care services for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, as well as to conduct a study on treatments such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, chiropractic care and others that address mental and physical conditions.
The VA Precision Medicine Act would direct the VA to establish the “Precision Medicine Initiative for Veterans” that Lamb’s statement said would “identify and validate brain and mental health biomarkers among veterans, with specific consideration for depression, anxiety, PTSD, TBI (traumatic brain injuries), and bipolar disorder.”
That bill also would have the VA create a “robust data privacy and security measures” to ensure veterans’ personal information is kept secure.
The VA’s capacity to contract and work with academic and research groups on analyses and data evaluation would be expanded under the DATA Act.