The authors estimate that the protocol would cost the VA system up to $270 million annually. Although this represents somewhat less than a 1% increase in the VA's health care budget, it is nonetheless a substantial sum. For example, it represents nearly half of annual federal expenditures for the Mental Health Block Grant, which helps to provide safety-net mental health services to the civilian population. The magnitude of the expense underlines the importance of understanding the validity of the FDA guidelines for preventing suicide and, perhaps, of the FDA's considering the costs of its recommended protocols in relation to anticipated benefits. Clearly, this admonition is relevant to the full spectrum of health care interventions, with treatments for psychiatric conditions being no more and no less important than other therapies. Some would criticize any consideration of cost in the face of a life-saving and clinically sensible intervention or would appropriately worry about including the cost of nonintervention. However, maximizing the efficient utilization of scarce health care resources requires that we understand all the costs and benefits.