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VA RIN: 2900-AQ30 Publication ID: Fall 2023 
Title: Modifying Copayments for Veterans at High Risk for Suicide 

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is finalizing a proposed rule to amend its medical regulations governing copayments for VA outpatient medical care and medications (to include outpatient medical care and medications provided by VA directly or community care obtained by VA through contracts, provider agreements or sharing agreements) by eliminating the copayment for outpatient care and reducing the copayment for medications dispensed to veterans identified by VA as being at high risk for suicide. These copayment changes will be applied until VA determines that the veteran is no longer at high risk for suicide.

Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs(VA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 38 CFR 17.108    38 CFR 17.110   
Legal Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1710(g)    38 U.S.C. 1722A   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

This rulemaking is needed because a change in the current regulation is called for by the policy outlined in Executive Order 13822, which provides that our Government must improve mental healthcare and access to suicide prevention resources available to veterans.  Healthcare research has provided extensive evidence that copayments can be barriers to healthcare for vulnerable patients, which places the change in line with the goals of the Executive order. 

Summary of the Legal Basis:

Executive Order 13822.


The express intent of the rulemaking is to reduce barriers to mental health care for Veterans at high risk for suicide. To defer implementation of the regulation would be to undermine its purpose. However, alternative regulatory approaches were considered. It was considered whether VHA national or local policy changes could effectively meet the intent of the regulation. It was found that policy change is not a viable alternative due to regulatory constraints that prevent changes to copayment requirements. The timing of rulemaking was considered. There were no potential cost savings or other net benefits identified that would lead to a more beneficial option. A phase-in period for the regulation was considered. There were no burdens, likely failures, or negative comments identified that a phase-in period would help mitigate. There were no potential cost savings or other net benefits identified that would make phasing in the regulation a more beneficial option.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

Outpatient medical care and medication copayments will be reduced for Veterans determined to be at high risk for suicide. VA strongly believes, based on extensive empirical evidence, that the provisions of this rulemaking will decrease the likelihood of fatal or medically serious overdoses from VA prescribed medications among Veterans who are at a high risk of suicide. VA also strongly believes, based on the evidence, that the provisions of this rulemaking will significantly increase the engagement of Veterans who are at a high risk or suicide in outpatient health care, which is known to decrease the risk of suicide and other adverse outcomes. Actual costs and/or transfers will be determined and reflected in this section of ROCIS once the Reg is formally sent to OMB for a formal Executive Order 12866 review.



Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  01/05/2022  87 FR 418   
NPRM Comment Period End  03/07/2022 
Final Action  09/00/2024 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL:  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Julie Wildman
Informatics Educator
Department of Veterans Affairs
795 Willow Road, Building 321, Room A124,
Menlo Park, CA 94304
Phone:650 493-5000