Hendersonville Times-News: Meadows discusses veteran legislation, mental health in Fletcher
Meadows discusses veteran legislation, mental health in Fletcher
By Rebecca Walter
Over the six years U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows has hosted Veterans’ Solutions Seminars, he’s often heard from local veterans about their frustration with red tape issues with the VA.
Representatives from the VA Hospital, the benefits office, the N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs and members of Meadows’ staff attempted to address those issues when they met with dozens of veterans at Fletcher Town Hall Wednesday.
Many veterans spoke with Meadows about eligibility for, or the lack of getting, benefits, he said.
“We are trying to make sure they have someone to go to when they hit a road block,” Meadows explained.
The congressman discussed mental health issues within the system. Concerns were recently voiced when a veteran died by suicide earlier this month in the visitor parking lot of the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville.
“When you see those tragic events, it lets us know that we have to take each case individually,” Meadows said. “And sometimes we have a system out there that does not show the compassion the way that it should.”
″...and yet it also shows we have an ongoing problem with addressing the mental health issue in a way that does not demean and that does not place a characterization or stigma on that individual,” Meadows continued. ”... It is probably the hardest thing for us to grapple with.”
Meadows said veterans’ mental health is a bipartisan issue. One way he sees to help is to try to reduce the number of deployments.
Meadows said the seminars are an opportunity for veterans to voice their concerns and comments.
“A lot of times they just want to know they’ve been heard,” he said. “The tangible way to know they’ve been heard is if I take something and introduce a piece of legislation and push that piece of legislation.”
The congressman said he gets many of his ideas for veteran-related legislation from events like Wednesday’s seminar.
In July, Meadows introduced the Brian Tally VA Medical Care and Liability Improvement Act, which aims to reform how the Department of Veterans Affairs handles medical malpractice claims against contract care providers. Meadows said he got the idea for the legislation from a constituent.
Meadows hosted a seminar in Waynesville before coming to Fletcher. His office has another scheduled Thursday morning at the Caldwell County Health and Human Services Building in Lenoir.
The Veteran Crisis Hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-8255. Users may also text the hotline at 838255 or go to www.VeteransCrisisLine.net.
- Washington, DC Office
Henderson County Office
Main District Office
Henderson County Court House
200 N. Grove Street, Suite 90
Hendersonville, NC 28792
Phone: (828) 693-5660
Fax: (828) 693-5603
Hours: M-F, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
- County Offices