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Readjustment Counseling Service Vet Center Report Appendix A

Acting Under Secretary for Health Comments

Department of Veterans Affairs

Memorandum

Date:

July 7, 2009

From:

Acting Under Secretary for Health (10)

Subject: Healthcare Inspection – Readjustment Counseling Service Vet

Center Report

To:

Assistant Inspector General for Healthcare Inspections (54)

1.

I have reviewed the draft report, and I concur with the report and

recommendations. services to combat

Vet Centers provide readjustment counseling and outreach Veterans and are an important resource for Veterans. Your

report will facilities in

help to improve the relationship meeting the needs of Veterans.

between

Vet

Centers

and

support

2. The community-based Vet Centers are a key component of VA’s mental health program, providing Veterans with mental health screening and post- traumatic stress disorder counseling, along with help for family members dealing with bereavement. Although 74 percent of Vet Centers already have a seat on their support facility’s Mental Health Council (MHC) as encouraged in the Handbook on Uniform Mental Health Services, participation of all Vet Centers will help to ensure care coordination and continuity of care for Veterans served through both the Vet Centers and VHA’s health care system. Consequently, VHA Handbook 1160.01, “Uniform Mental Health Services in VA Medical Centers and Clinics,” dated September 11, 2008, will be revised to require Vet Center participation on VHA Mental Health Councils.

3. To further facilitate care coordination between Vet Centers and support facilities, all RCS Regional Managers will be tasked with ensuring compliance with the established quality management procedure for external clinical consultation for all Vet Centers. Regional Managers will intervene with the VAMC support facility for those Vet Centers without an assigned external clinical consultant, and pursue the services in the private sector when a VAMC professional is not logistically feasible. Further, Regional Managers will also

VA Office of Inspector General

21

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