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HOUSE PASSES REP. SCOTT DESJARLAIS’ BILL TO DESIGNATE VA MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY “SERGEANT JOHN TOOMBS RESIDENTIAL REHABILITATION TREATMENT FACILITY”

Sep 25, 2018
Press Release

HOUSE PASSES REP. SCOTT DESJARLAIS’ BILL TO DESIGNATE VA MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY “SERGEANT JOHN TOOMBS RESIDENTIAL REHABILITATION TREATMENT FACILITY”

WASHINGTON, D.C. –   Today, in a bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congressman Scott DesJarlais’ bill to designate the Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Alvin C. York Medical Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, as the “Sergeant John Toombs Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility.”

          Sgt. Toombs, an Afghan War veteran who suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, sought counseling for his disorder, as well as addiction treatment, at his local VA facility.  However, in November 2016, Sgt. Toombs committed suicide on facility grounds. “He was a war veteran. He was a constituent. I’ve worked closely with David Toombs, his father, to recognize his son’s struggles, and to prevent another tragic ending like John’s,” said Rep. DesJarlais (TN-04), a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

          “Suicide and substance abuse are nationwide problems affecting a disproportionate number of U.S. military veterans. We need to give them our full support, whether they’re fighting for our country abroad or fighting to recover when they return home. Many families, like the Toombs, have suffered personal losses, and this designation will symbolize our continuing commitment to helping them and their loved ones receive the support they need,” said the Congressman.

          Last month at the York campus, Rep. DesJarlais met with Jennifer Vedral-Baron, Director of the VA’s Tennessee Valley Health Care System, to discuss Sgt. Toombs’ case, his legislation, and their efforts to improve veterans’ physical and mental care. Rep. DesJarlais recently voted for the VA MISSION Act to eliminate bureaucratic overlap within the system, improve hiring and retention of quality medical staff, and to remove limitations on private care.

Also this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced funding for a new veterans home in Bradley County. For years, Rep. DesJarlais worked with local veterans advocates to achieve the result. “This Congress is focused squarely on providing the best tools, training and care for our military members, including veterans. It is my highest duty and highest honor to work on their behalf.”

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