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VA Inspector General: "Evaluation of Mental Health Treatment Continuity at Veterans Health Administration Facilities

VA Inspector General: "Evaluation of Mental Health Treatment Continuity at Veterans Health Administration Facilities

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Published by Patricia Dillon
We identified two areas where the Veterans Health Administration needed to improve compliance. We recommended that the Under Secretary for Health, in conjunction with Veterans Integrated Service Network and facility senior managers, ensures that:
 Facilities take action to improve post-discharge follow-up for MH patients, particularly those who were identified as high risk for suicide.  Clinicians consistently follow the required processes for patients who fail to report for scheduled MH appointments and document actions taken.

MH literature documents that patients’ suicide risk is heightened after an acute psychiatric episode. Among patients who attempted suicide after an inpatient MH stay, most attempts occurred within 1 week after discharge.

VAOIG-13-01742-188
We identified two areas where the Veterans Health Administration needed to improve compliance. We recommended that the Under Secretary for Health, in conjunction with Veterans Integrated Service Network and facility senior managers, ensures that:
 Facilities take action to improve post-discharge follow-up for MH patients, particularly those who were identified as high risk for suicide.  Clinicians consistently follow the required processes for patients who fail to report for scheduled MH appointments and document actions taken.

MH literature documents that patients’ suicide risk is heightened after an acute psychiatric episode. Among patients who attempted suicide after an inpatient MH stay, most attempts occurred within 1 week after discharge.

VAOIG-13-01742-188

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Published by: Patricia Dillon on May 10, 2013
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05/12/2013

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Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Inspector General
Combined Assessment Program
Summary Report
Evaluation of 
Mental Health Treatment Continuity at
Veterans Health Administration Facilities
Report No.
13-01742-188 April 29, 2013
VA Office of Inspector General
Washington, DC 20420
 
 
To Report Suspected Wrongdoing in VA Programs and Operations:
Telephone: 1-800-488-8244
(Hotline Information:www.va.gov/oig/hotline)
 
 
Evaluation of Mental Health Treatment Continuity at Veterans Health Administration Facilities
Executive Summary
The VA Office of Inspector General Office of Healthcare Inspections evaluated thecontinuity of care for mental health (MH) patients at Veterans Health Administrationfacilities. The purpose of the evaluation was to determine whether patients who weredischarged from acute MH received timely follow-up.Inspectors evaluated MH treatment continuity during 24 Combined Assessment Programreviews conducted from April 1 through September 30, 2012.We identified two areas where the Veterans Health Administration needed to improvecompliance. We recommended that the Under Secretary for Health, in conjunction withVeterans Integrated Service Network and facility senior managers, ensures that:
 
Facilities take action to improve post-discharge follow-up for MH patients, particularly those who were identified as high risk for suicide.
 
Clinicians consistently follow the required processes for patients who fail to reportfor scheduled MH appointments and document actions taken.
VA Office of Inspector General i

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