AUGUSTA, Maine — A pilot program in Maine aims to better provide mental health treatment to veterans.

The effort backed by Democratic Rep. Jared Golden aims to launch a pilot program to start connecting veterans with mental and behavioral services by Jan. 1.

Running from January until December 2020, licensed hospitals are expected to ask patients at emergency rooms about their past military service. Hospitals will compile data on the number of military patients and those with behavioral or mental health emergencies.

The state health commissioner can grant waivers from the screening and data collection requirement.

Maine’s health commissioner and veterans services director are tasked with analyzing the data to figure out the unmet need for mental health care services.