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Schumer wants better VA, police coordination on mental health

Ryan Delaney

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for more coordination between police and Veterans Affairs medical centers to treat veterans with mental health problems.

Schumer, a Democrat from New York, wants the VA to investigate its handling of mentally ill veterans in the wake of a veteran’s shooting spree. Police say Navy veteran Aaron Alexis killed 12 people on a base in Washington D.C. last week.

Schumer says ineffective communication between police and military allowed Alexis to not be treated.

"He showed all the signs. Police knew about them. He had been to the VA but still nothing was done," Schumer said on a conference call with reporters. "And we’re doing to this to prevent veterans from hurting either themselves or others."

Schumer says the VA should work better with law enforcement and review its mental health services. There are eight VA hospitals and 35 clinics in upstate New York.

"We need to increase the number and type of mental health providers in the VA system so more patients can have access to this life-saving resource," Schumer added.

He also called for the VA and Department of Defense to set up a 24-hour mental health clinic.