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Bill seeks help for combat veterans

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Senate Republican on Thursday filed a proposal aimed at helping combat veterans and their families get mental-health and substance-abuse services.

The bill (SB 128), filed by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, would direct the Florida Department of Children and Families to help establish the "Florida Combat Veterans' Care Coordination Program."

The program would work with the Florida 211 Network, which provides referral services, to increase the use of community-based services and U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs services.

Along with offering referral services, the program would provide care coordination to the combat veterans and their families.

The bill, which will be considered during the 2016 legislative session, lists as one of its goals preventing suicides by combat veterans.

It calls for the Legislature to spend about $2 million on the program during the 2016-17 fiscal year.