WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today introduced the Advancing Veterans’ Access to Mental Health Services (S. 2771), legislation that would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to hire individuals who hold doctoral degrees in mental health as Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselors (LPMHC). The law currently requires the VA to hire mental health professionals that hold a master’s degree, inadvertently preventing the hiring of individuals who earned a doctorate without obtaining a master’s degree in the process.
“We owe our nation’s veterans a debt of gratitude for their service and we must ensure our nation fulfills our promise to care for them in return,” said Inhofe. “Veterans seeking care for mental health issues stemming from the sacrifices they made in service to our nation deserve the best healthcare that we can provide. My legislation will help ensure all highly qualified licensed professional mental health counselors are eligible for hire at the VA. No longer can we stand by while our veterans experience long waits and failure to get adequate treatment because of shortages within the VA. I will be working to get this common-sense legislation moved through the Senate as Congress continues to work together to reform the VA.”