The U.S. government provides many health care benefits to veterans, both during and after they serve. Unfortunately, the benefits become a necessity for many veterans who return home because of the mental and physical trauma that they sustain during their time being active duty. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has created a healthcare system specifically for veterans that provides medical centers and outpatient clinics with a variety of services throughout the country. The trauma that veterans experience often requires them to have care that is specialized for them in areas like substance abuse and mental health. While they can receive care at VA locations, it is often not a choice for a veteran to travel the distance to that location or wait weeks or months for an appointment and are forced to get care in the civilian sector. Because of this, the VA has started to allow veterans to receive care at non-VA facilities and as a result, quality of care and specialization for veterans is very important. The services that are provided at those locations are reviewed for both availability and range of services for veterans. This thesis analyzes existing data on substance abuse treatment services and mental health services for both veterans and civilians in order to assess trends for services available and treatment options. Overall, treatment type availability has not changed since the Opioid Safety Initiative. VA facilities are not increasing their availability of alternative therapies, but telemedicine therapy has become more available nationwide. Veteran specific programs are slightly decreasing in non-VA mental health facilities unlike non-VA substance abuse facilities where the program availability is increasing. Increased access to alternative treatments can help medical institutions provide more diverse and better-quality treatment plans for veterans.
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Science, Technology and Public Policy (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Public Policy (CLA)
Driver, Kyla A., "Proposed Improvements in Veteran Administration Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Services" (2019). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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