Readjustment Counseling Service Vet Center Report
However, local collaboration between VAMCs and Vet Centers did facilitate frequent referrals on an informal basis.
C. Quality Management
VHA policy13 requires that RCS manifest measurable quality management program components in each Vet Center. Quality measures address the unique Vet Center features
of outreach and a combination of professional and peer counseling. components of the quality management program include:
Ensuring at least one qualified VHA mental health professional on staff at each
Privileging of all Vet Center professional staff.
Background check of academic and clinical credentials.
A critical event plan for responding to emergencies.
Regular external clinical consultation for review of cases.
Formal mortality and morbidity review of all suicides.
Standards for Vet Center clinical records.
Formal site visit reviews by RCS management.
Qualified Mental Health Professional
Each Vet Center must have at least one VHA qualified mental health professional (Psychologist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Clinical Nurse Specialist) on staff. Data from FY 2008 RCS internal quality reviews reported that 7 (3.4 percent) of 203 Vet Centers did not have this required employee. During our inspections of 14 statistically randomly selected Vet Centers, we found all Vet Centers had a mental health professional on staff.
Professional Staff Privileging
M-12, Part I, dated July 1993, requires that Vet Center professional staffs be privileged through the supporting VAMC’s Clinical Executive Board. RCS informed us they were drafting a revision to this policy. The Director of C&P told us that the counseling services provided at the Vet Centers are not considered medical care; therefore, required privileging for licensed independent practitioners, as described in VHA policy,14 does not
apply to Vet Center professional staff. Nonetheless,
found several Vet Center staff the OHI information request
VHA Manual, M–12, Part I, Chapter 5, Quality Management, July 6, 1993. VHA Handbook 1100.19, Credentialing and Privileging, October 2, 2007.
VA Office of Inspector General