Kiggans Secures Sailor Standard of Care Act Provisions in Annual Defense Package
WASHINGTON, DC: Today, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) successfully amended the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to include provisions of her Sailor Standard of Care Act. Kiggans introduced this important, bipartisan legislation in May to improve mental healthcare for the men and women serving in the United States Navy.
“The rising number of sailors who continue to die by suicide should make it abundantly clear for anyone to see that we MUST do better for those serving our great nation,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “I’m proud that my colleagues from both sides of the aisle supported my effort to include critical mental health provisions from the Sailor Standard of Care Act in our nation’s most important defense bill. But our work is not done. I am going to fight to ensure these provisions are included in the final version that passes both the House and the Senate so they can be signed into law by the President. We must ensure the Navy is providing the resources and quality of life each and every sailor deserves.”
“Since day one, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans has fought to improve the quality of life for our servicemembers and their families,” Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) said. “She is a proven leader who has worked tirelessly to ensure the FY24 NDAA boosts our national defense and puts our servicemembers first.”
Specifically, the provisions of the Sailor Standard of Care Act that were included in the FY24 NDAA would:
- Require the Navy to study the feasibility of constructing and managing a dashboard to track quality of life programs and their utilization rate. The quality-of-life issues tracked by this dashboard would include childcare, healthcare, education, housing, and spouse employment.
- Examine reimbursement rates for mental healthcare providers under TRICARE, the number of current and projected mental healthcare providers under TRICARE, and assess what, if any, additional authorities and resources are needed to effectively provide timely access to mental healthcare.
- Require the Secretary of the Navy to provide a briefing to the committee on the average number of days it takes for the Department of the Navy to separate with limited duty sailors after it is determined the sailors are too medically separated.
- Require the Secretary of the Navy to brief the House Armed Services Committee on its recommended standard operating procedures for responding to multiple suicides.
- Requires the Secretary of the Navy to provide the committee a briefing on the feasibility of providing additional mental health resources to units with greater than 15 limited duty sailors and on the feasibility of mandatory mental health screenings for limited duty sailors.
The House Armed Services Committee continues to amend the FY24 NDAA, with expected passage of the legislation occurring later this evening or early tomorrow morning.