ACA Responds to Scathing Report on Veterans Affairs
Following a critical report by the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding severe delays in providing mental health evaluations and treatment for veterans, ACA has launched an initiative to shed light on this urgent matter, and highlight the need for the VA to hire more counselors. ACA staff have contacted news outlets to help us get the word out that there is no shortage of counseling professionals ready and qualified for this work.
The OIG report found that only about half of veterans received an initial mental health evaluation within 14 days; the rest had to wait on average 50 days before receiving an evaluation. The VA had claimed that 95 percent of veterans were evaluated within 14 days. In response to the report, the VA has said it intends to increase its mental health staff by 1,600 providers, and to begin hiring counselors for some of these positions. To date, however, very few counselor positions have been established at VA facilities, despite the fact that the law recognizing counselors was enacted back in 2006.
Several media interviews took place during the week of April 30. Additional interviews are scheduled for the week of May 7-11. Links to all articles published will be posted here, along with other documents developed to state our case.
Article in Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times, Marine Corps Times, and Military Eagle Edge, May 3, 2012