Evaluation of the Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Services
A committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will comprehensively assess the quality, capacity, and access to mental health care services for veterans who served in the Armed Forces in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND). The committee will assess the spectrum of mental health services available across the entire US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The scope of this assessment will include analysis not only of the quality and capacity of mental health care services within the VA, but also barriers faced by patients in utilizing those services. Types of evidence to be considered by the committee in its assessment include relevant scientific literature and other documents, interviews with VA mental health professionals, survey data to be provided by the VA, and results from surveys of veterans to be conducted independently by the committee. Site visits will be conducted to at least one VA medical center in each of 21 Veterans Integrated Service Networks across the country. In addition, the committee will hold an open meeting of experts to discuss the Secretary's plan for the development and implementation of performance metrics and staffing guidance. The committee will provide a final report with recommendations to the Secretary of the VA regarding overcoming barriers and improving access to mental health care in the VA, as well as increasing effectiveness and efficiency.