Hedge-Fund Manager Pledges $275 Million to Give Free Mental Health Care to Veterans

April 15, 2016 - Posted By Andrew Jones

Steven Cohen, head of Point72 Asset Management, has pledged $275 million to build clinics offering free mental health care to veterans and their families.

Thanks to the generous pledge, 20 to 25 clinics will be built across the country in the next three to five years.

According to a press release from the Cohen Veteran Network, the nonprofit group overseeing the project, the initial clinics will be located in New York, Dallas, San Antonio, and Los Angeles.The first clinic is set to open in July 2016, with many following after.

The announcement comes along with renewed criticism of the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding long wait times, inadequate care for veterans, and denying care for veterans with other than honorable discharges.

The clinics would provide care to all veterans, regardless of discharge status, with priority given to post-9/11 vets. They search to shorten wait times and also provide free transportation to appointments.

Patients at the clinics also have the option to participate in studies with Cohen Veterans Bioscience, which seeks to develop improved detection and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries. This will help to provide some much needed answers on how we treat future veterans who return home with these conditions.

Cohen stressed the importance of paying back the debt that we owe to our veterans who return from service with wounds of war. This hits home for Cohen, whose son, Robert, was deployed to Afghanistan as a marine in 2010.

He has donated large quantities of his $11 billion dollar fortune to supporting veterans issues over the last decade. The focus on philanthropy has provided a much needed distraction from the negative press Cohen has received in recent years for both insider trading with the company Capital Advisors and for failing to adequately oversee an employee. In January he was barred from managing money from outside investors by the SEC connected to his management mistake and in 2013 Capital Advisors paid a $1.8 billion penalty for the insider trading infractions.