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    House Unanimously Approves Veteran Suicide Tracking Legislation

    STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The Arizona House of Representatives today unanimously approved HB 2542, legislation sponsored by Representative Justin Wilmeth (R-15) which requires additional data, crucial for nonprofit veterans service organizations, to be included in the annual veteran suicide report produced by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

    “America’s military veterans stepped up and put their lives on the line to defend our freedom,” said Representative Wilmeth.   “Finding ways to better care for the men and women who have served us should be our highest priority as elected officials.  HB 2542 will improve the state’s efforts to identify trends and effective points of intervention to assist the more than 500,000 veterans currently living in Arizona. I’m grateful for the support of my colleagues for this important legislation.”

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    In 2019, legislation was signed by Governor Ducey to have the Arizona Department of Health Services compile an annual report on veteran suicides that provides important data to the Legislature and the Department of Veterans’ Services. If enacted, HB 2542 would incorporate utilization and encounter data into the annual veterans suicide report that include call volume, call outcomes, caller location by county, reasons for call, military status, age groups, who called (self, someone else, general inquiry), if they are VA or AHCCCS enrolled, the top 10 referral sources, and number of calls referred to crisis intervention. This important information also helps the Be Connected program – a program that connects veterans with the proper resources if they experience isolated or suicidal ideation.

    The bill now moves to the State Senate for consideration.

    Justin Wilmeth is a Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives serving Legislative District 15, which includes North Phoenix and Cave Creek.

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