Starting the day after Independence Day 2017, veterans with other-than-honorable (OTH) administrative discharges from the military — or what is usually referred to as “bad paper” — can acquire emergency mental health care from a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs emergency room.

It marks the first time a VA Secretary has executed a program focused on this faction of former military members who are suffering from mental health issues.

On July 5, former service members who were given an OTH administration discharge from the military can go to all Veteran Health Administration (VHA) medical complexes to obtain care for mental health emergencies for an initial time period of up to 90 days.

This care can consist of inpatient, residential or outpatient care. During the process, the VHA and the Veterans Benefits Administration will work collectively to establish if the mental health issue is a result of a service-related event, which would mean the service member is entitled for continuing care for that condition.

The VA estimates that roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide in the United States. Most of these individuals are not recurrent users of VA services.


Times, Military. “VA to open emergency rooms to ‘bad paper’ vets on July 5.” Military Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 June 2017.